The billionaire Peugeot family has broadened its investments into banking, luxury and cybersecurity businesses, diversifying a fortune still rooted in the auto industry.
Peugeot Invest, the listed firm controlled by the French clan and headed by Robert Peugeot, now holds 5.1% of Rothschild & Co. bank after the successful completion of a take-private move, according to an earnings presentation Friday.
It has also invested this year in Gruppo Florence SpA, an Italian luxury-goods manufacturing hub; the high-end Hotel California near Paris’ celebrated Champs-Elysees; the cybersecurity company Nomios; and the legal search engine Doctrine.
The company is 80% owned by Etablissements Peugeot Freres, the family office overseeing a fortune centered on the eponymous car brand that is part of Stellantis NV. While their first automobile dates back to 1889 and spawned a global carmaker, they started diversifying about a decade ago amid heavy losses and family divisions.
The move into luxury goods through Gruppo Florence is “definitely a good way for us to be exposed to this sector where we weren’t before,” Peugeot Invest CEO Bertrand Finet said on a call.
The century-old Hotel California, which will be renovated and upgraded, is a well-located and attractive asset obtained at a good price, Deputy CEO Sebastien Coquard said, adding that establishments in central Paris are full and proving resilient.
Peugeot Invest’s first-half results saw the net value of its assets rise to €5.5 billion ($5.9 billion) from €5 billion at the end of 2022, according to a statement. The return on investments was 12.4%, including higher dividends and a downward adjustment in the value of most of its real estate holdings.
The property investments include office, retail and housing assets mostly in France, Germany, Austria and the U.S., according to the presentation.
Shares of Peugeot Invest rose 0.6% in midday Paris trading.
The Peugeots trace their industrial roots to 1810, when an ancestor converted a windmill into a steel workshop. Family members are still actively involved in the auto business and make up about half of the Peugeot Invest board. Five members are from the ninth generation of the clan, so there is a “succession element” to the business, Finet said on the call Friday.
Peugeot Invest has holdings in more than 60 listed and unlisted companies as well as a portfolio of private equity and real estate funds.
“By investing in a variety of sectors and markets with an ever greater underlying exposure in the United States, we have been able to mitigate the effects of this global economic turbulence over the last few years,” Chairman Robert Peugeot said in the statement, adding that he’s “delighted” with the stake in Rothschild.