Richemont says it is not for sale after reporting record earnings

Richemont has sought to quash hypothesis over takeover approaches after jewelry gross sales and a rebound in China drove the Swiss luxurious group to document earnings.

Revenues for the proprietor of Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels climbed 14 per cent at fixed trade charges to hit an all-time excessive of practically €20bn for the yr ended March 31. Working earnings got here to a document €5bn, up by a 3rd from the earlier 12 months and forward of expectations, whereas web money rose €1.3bn to €6.5bn.

Richemont chair Johann Rupert, who controls the Swiss group, reiterated that the corporate was not on the market, after a Swiss information outlet reported “whispers” that France’s LVMH had set its sights on buying it. Richemont had additionally turned down a cope with Kering proposed by bankers two years in the past, Rupert mentioned.

“We’re in fixed dialogue and we respect one another’s independence,” he mentioned of LVMH.

The Swiss firm joins different teams within the luxurious sector, similar to LVMH and Hermès, in reporting bullish earnings on the again of gross sales selecting up in Asia, specifically China. Gucci proprietor Kering, nonetheless, has lagged behind.

Defying geopolitical ructions and rising inflation, the worldwide luxurious sector has boomed lately, the power of its restoration after a 2020 pandemic contraction stunned trade specialists with double-digit development in 2021 and once more final yr.

The fourth quarter revealed a “vital” gross sales enhance because the Asia-Pacific area recovered following China’s removing of Covid-19 journey restrictions, Richemont mentioned.

However Rupert cautioned: “Financial volatility and political uncertainty look set to stay options of the buying and selling atmosphere. The group will due to this fact search to take care of the required agility to handle fluctuating ranges of demand.”

Whereas Chinese language tourism was starting to select up once more, giant teams have but to return as flights stay costly. Most analysts count on worldwide Chinese language tourism, a key driver of world luxurious gross sales, to select up extra considerably from the second half of this yr.

Demand has been slowing within the US since November, reflecting analysts’ expectations for a slowdown there and tendencies reported by different luxurious corporations within the sector’s greatest market, Rupert additionally famous.

Richemont reported a €3.6bn loss from discontinued operations, largely as a result of a €3.4bn non-cash writedown on ecommerce platform Yoox Web-a-Porter. The corporate is within the means of separating the ecommerce enterprise from its core operations after asserting a plan to promote a majority stake within the unprofitable platform to an Emirati investor and on-line rival Farfetch final yr. The deal is presently being examined by regulators.

“The polarisation between robust manufacturers with iconic items and weaker ones continued unabated, and accelerated in latest months as a result of excessive inflation,” wrote Jean-Philippe Bertschy at Vontobel. “Richemont may be very nicely positioned with Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels or Vacheron Constantin.”

The Swiss group will provide a particular dividend of SFr1 a share on high of an elevated odd payout of SFr2.50. It additionally plans to purchase again as many as 10mn of its A shares, or 1.7 per cent of its fairness.

Shares rose greater than 5 per cent on Friday after the earnings launch. They’ve elevated 31 per cent this yr.

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