It's a good day to be Amancio Ortega. The 79-year-old founder of Zara parent company Inditex saw his company surpass the €100 billion (about $109 billion) valuation mark on Wednesday as shares climbed over €32 a share, up 36 percent over the last 12 months.
That puts it well ahead of athletic giant Nike (market cap: $86.2 billion) and Swedish fast fashion juggernaut H&M (market cap: $58.6 billion), and makes it the most valuable company in Spain, ahead of Telefonica SA and Banco Santander SA.
Ortega, who owns more than half of Inditex, became the second richest person in the world earlier this year, with an estimated net worth of $72.9 billion, behind only Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Not bad for 52 years of work.
Over the past few years, Inditex — which also owns Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, but attributes 2/3rds of its revenue to Zara — has continued to steadily grow sales across its brands, up 8 percent overall in 2014. The company also continues to expand its store fleet in new and existing markets, though less aggressively than competitor H&M, which since the beginning of 2013 has averaged more than one store opening per day. Still, more than 85 percent of Inditex's capital expenditures go towards store openings and refurbishments.
Inditex has also, like other European apparel companies, enjoyed a boost from recent currency fluctuations — namely a weak euro and a rising U.S. dollar, which has helped boost the value of its international sales.
The company will post first-half results on Sept. 16.