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LVMH’s Arnault rules out Le Pen victory in France

Bernard Arnault, head of French luxury goods giant LVMH, says he expects victory for either Emmanuel Macron or Francois Fillon in the French presidential elections over far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

"My take is one of the two will win!" responded LVMH's joint chairman and chief executive officer when asked whether he was concerned that there are only two so-called 'market-friendly' candidates still in the race to secure the French presidency this May.

Arnault, the country's richest man and a prominent figure among French society, was speaking to CNBC at the VIVA TECH conference in Paris about the importance of the digital revolution to long-established and traditional companies such as LVMH.

Bernard Arnault, CEO of the luxury goods maker LVMH.
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images
Bernard Arnault, CEO of the luxury goods maker LVMH.

"In our group, the start-up spirit is key for the success of management…Even in a large brand, we should keep the proprietary spirit of the founder," he began, describing the key to success as the securing of a link "between the heritage and the future."

Arnault referred to initiatives such as the connected watch, which it launched in 2015 with Tag Heuer, and gave a preview of other high-tech wearable projects, adding "we have a new version coming on the market very soon and it's a real watch with a lot of modern equipment."

The renowned investor and art collector said he found it appropriate that the tech conference was taking place within the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French President since 1848.

"Why not? In the future we can show that France is for start-ups…I hope it will also push French governments to be more helpful for the enterprises and the enterprise spirit in the future," he proferred.

"Instead of what has been a tradition in France of putting more and more fiscal pressure, more and more social rules, more and more regulatory rules that are blocking enterprise, I think we should be open…the start-up world is key to make even the high level government people understand what it takes."

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