Bernard Arnault, already Europe’s richest person, saw his massive wealth jump from an estimated $94.7 billion to $100.4 billion on Tuesday.

This huge gain catapulted Arnault to the distinction of being the third richest person in the world and only one of three centibillionaires in the world. The other two are Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.

He is also the first European centibillionaire and the richest person in the fashion industry. Arnault’s net worth has increased almost $32 billion this year, the largest on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which consists of 500 billionaires.

Arnault, 70, owes his wealth to his position as chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH), the world's largest luxury goods company. The LVMH stocks he owns were buoyed by its record rise to €368.80 a share on Tuesday, a 2.9 percent jump from Monday. LVMH shares have jumped 43 percent this year, the third-best performer on France’s CAC 40 Index.

Arnault controls half of LVMH through a family holding company. Arnault also owns a 97 percent stake in Christian Dior.

Analysts said Arnault’s wealth is equivalent to 3 percent of France’s total GDP.

 

Critics of Arnault’s massive wealth point to it as a glaring example of the unconscionable income inequality that plagues France. Unlike other billionaires like Bill Gates or Larry Ellison who have pledged to give away much of, or most of their fortunes to charity, Arnault has made no such move.

Arnault’s philanthropy is to support the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation that he founded in 2006 with an investment of $140 million.

His foundation aims to enhance patronage initiatives and promote contemporary art and culture. It is expected this foundation will eventually become an Art Museum in France that showcases contemporary art.

Arnault and his family are among tycoons that pledged more than $650 million in April for the reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral after the iconic church was ravaged by fire.