Zara Owner Inditex Breaks Through the $100 Billion MarkRodrigo Orihuela
Inditex SA, the world’s largest clothing retailer, joined the $100 billion club as this year’s 36 percent gain in the shares gave the Zara owner a market value enjoyed by only about 80 companies worldwide.
The value of the Spanish retailer, whose brands also include Massimo Dutti and Bershka, surpassed 100 billion euros ($109 billion) Wednesday for the first time. The stock has been bolstered by a recovering domestic economy, growing online sales and a weak euro that’s boosting the value of revenue from abroad.
Inditex is the only Spanish company to have such a valuation, putting it ahead of Telefonica SA and Banco Santander SA. The biggest beneficiary of Inditex’s surging stock price is founder Amancio Ortega, the richest person in the world after Bill Gates, and owner of a majority stake in the Arteixo-based company. His net worth is $72.3 billion, compared to Gates’s $85.3 billion, and this year he overtook Warren Buffett, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“It’s a great company, with a great concept and still growing nicely and the potential for further growth is still there,” Peter Braendle, a money manager at Swisscanto Asset Management AG who holds Inditex shares, said by phone. “For such a big retailer, it’s amazing how close they are to their customers.”
The stock rose 0.6 percent to 32.08 euros at 4:40 p.m. in Madrid.
Ortega, 79, started the company in 1975 and has a seat on the board. Ortega’s first store was in the seaside city of A Coruna in northern Spain, where he still lives, and he went on to be recognized as the creator of so-called fast fashion in the following decades. The company now has more than 6,700 stores in almost 90 countries.
Profit rose 28 percent in the fiscal first quarter ended April 30, the fastest rate in more than two years. Analysts expect a full-year gain in net income of 16 percent, according to the average of 26 estimates.
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