The high fashion house which counts Cartier and Piaget among its brands took JobKeeper, enjoyed a sterling rise in profits and gave local executives a pay rise while their Luxembourg parent, Richemont, helped itself to a large dividend.
Over at Horseferry House, just a brief stroll along the Thames from Westminster Palace, the chaps in the boardroom at luxury goods house Burberry will be raising a toast to Australia’s treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
They really ought to pop Josh a nice pair of Burberry monogram swim briefs in the Royal Mail for summer – that’s Burberry’s $540 answer to $80 Speedos. Pip pip, chaps! Jolly good treasurer that Frydenberg!
For Josh has kindly bestowed the gift of JobKeeper upon the London-owned Burberry in Australia. Burberry Pacific’s latest financial statements show a $2m grant.
Meanwhile, at their chic glass headquarters near the Lac de Genève, Richemont founder Johann Rupert and his chief executive Jérôme Lambert can pay tribute to Josh too; they did even better than the English.
Richemont Australia, which sells luxury brands Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Baume & Mercier and Montblanc, picked up $4m in JobKeeper then paid an $8m dividend to its Luxembourg shareholders.
That’s not all, the luxury goods retailer ended last year with $58m in cash, well up from the $25m at the end of the previous year which had been barely affected by the pandemic (March year end). They notched up a big rise in profits to $11m too, while their Australian executives strapped on a tidy pay rise to boot, collecting $5.2m from $4.5m.
Both Burberry and Richemont managed to pay down debt to their parents as well, the latter even stuffing a whole new tranche of related party borrowings into the mix to kill their tax obligations in the years to come.
Some Cartier cufflinks or a nice diamond encrusted Piaget for Josh must surely be in order. With such generosity, billionaire Johann could add to his collection of 220 cars.
Credit where credit is due though. It’s not just plaudits for these multinational corporate welfare scroungers and their Big Four advisers for jumping on this gift of JobKeeper, Josh must be praised for adopting a diversified approach to his grants.
He’s not just giving our money away to Australian companies, but also to foreign fashion houses such as Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.
He is not one for putting all of our taxpayer eggs in the one basket either. Media moguls such as Lachlan Murdoch and Kerry Stokes were aboard the gravy train as well as people who were not Australian billionaires.
And it was not merely companies which didn’t need it who got it but companies who did need it got it too. Even the richest man in the world, Louis Vuitton’s Bernard Arnault, was on board!