Richemont Chair Shoots Down Reports of Acquisition by LVMH

FinancialsMay 15, 2023

Richemont Chair Shoots Down Reports of Acquisition by LVMH

The company reported record sales, driven by desire for classic lines like Cartier “Panthère” and “Alhambra” from Van Cleef & Arpels.

Cartier Tank “Normale” watch
This Cartier Tank “Normale” watch with yellow gold case and brown alligator strap was one of the updated Tank models the brand rolled out at Watches & Wonders Geneva this year. Cartier owner Richemont noted the popularity of classic watch and jewelry collections in its just-concluded fiscal year.
Geneva—Consumers’ penchant for tried-and-true classics propelled Richemont to a record-breaking year and prompted its chairman to shoot down speculation the luxury conglomerate was up for sale.

The Geneva-based company reported Friday that sales for its fiscal year ended March 31 hit an all-time high of €19.95 billion ($21.82 billion), up 19 percent year-over-year (14 percent at constant exchange rates).

Operating profit rose 34 percent to €5.03 billion ($5.50 billion).

Following the company’s release of its full-year results, Chairman Johann Rupert publicly refuted a report that appeared in a Swiss newspaper in February that the company was an acquisition target for competitor LVMH.

According to The Financial Times, he said Richemont is not for sale. He said he speaks with LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault regularly and the two companies, “respect each other’s independence.”  

Rupert also said Richemont turned down a deal proposed by bankers to merge with Kering two years ago. 

During the fiscal year, the company’s jewelry brands—Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Buccellati—posted 21 percent sales growth (16 percent at constant exchange rates). 

Richemont said the brands’ “iconic” collections outperformed: “Opera Tulle” and “Macri” at Buccellati, “Trinity,” “Panthère” and “Santos” at Cartier, and “Alhambra,” “Perlée” and “Fauna” at Van Cleef & Arpels.

During the fiscal year, Richemont reopened the Cartier flagship boutiques on Fifth Avenue in New York and in Paris and opened a new Van Cleef & Arpels flagship store in San Francisco. 

Sales for Richemont’s watch brands, which include Vacheron Constantin, IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre, were up 13 percent (8 percent at constant exchange rates). 

Like jewelry, it was sales of classic collections that drove watch sales, including “Riviera” for Baume & Mercier, pilot’s watches for IWC, “Reverso” for Jaeger-LeCoultre, and “Overseas” for Vacheron Constantin.

The company opened a new Jaeger-LeCoultre flagship stores in Beverly Hills, California, during the fiscal year. 

 Related stories will be right here … 
Region-wise, Richemont’s sales in the Americas held up, growing 27 percent year-over-year against strong comps (89 percent sales growth) from the previous fiscal year.

The Americas is Richemont’s second-largest market.

Richemont said sales in the Americas slowed down in the second half of the year, partly due to the fact that Americans shopped overseas because of the strong U.S. dollar, while sales in its largest market, Asia Pacific, gained steam as the Chinese government relaxed COVID restrictions. 

Channel-wise, Richemont saw growth in all distribution sectors, with sales in its company-owned stores rising 22 percent, online sales increasing 12 percent, and wholesale sales up 14 percent. 

Looking ahead to the new fiscal year, Rupert said in the company’s full-year earnings release that he expects conditions to remain unsettled.

“Economic volatility and political uncertainty look set to remain features of the trading environment,” he said. “The group will therefore seek to maintain the necessary agility to manage fluctuating levels of demand. 

“I am confident our maisons are well-positioned to meet strong demand, notably driven by a significant resumption of Chinese travel. Richemont is fortunate to own such a unique portfolio of maisons with excellent long-term prospects.”  

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