Richemont says could do more M&A, net profit misses poll

Luxury goods group Richemont said on Friday it could target strategic investments and divestments after buoyant jewelry sales made up for still sluggish watch sales, helping sales rise 8 percent in constant currency terms in its fiscal year to March.


Cartier


Luxury goods group Richemont said on Friday it could target strategic investments and divestments after organic sales rose 8 percent in constant currency terms in its fiscal year to March, helped by buoyant jewellery sales.

"Our long-term approach does not preclude us from targeting strategic investments and divestments, as we have demonstrated over the past year," the maker of Cartier jewellery and IWC watches said in a statement on Friday.

Net profit rose 1 percent to 1.221 billion euros ($1.44 billion), well below a 1.719 billion forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts, partly due to inventory buy-backs of watches of 203 million euros in 2017/18.

Sales of luxury watches have improved over the last year, after a severe downturn, but brands are under pressure to review their business models to better exploit digital sales channels and rekindle young people’s interest in traditional timepieces.

“Our long-term approach does not preclude us from targeting strategic investments and divestments, as we have demonstrated over the past year,” the maker of Cartier jewelry and IWC watches said in a statement on Friday.

The group also announced the appointment of Eric Vallat to the newly created role of Head of Fashion and Accessories Maison. He will join the group's senior executive committee, effective 1 June 2018, and will report to Jerôme Lambert, chief operating officer.

Just like luxury peers, Richemont has recently made efforts to ramp up e-commerce operations and attract younger shoppers as online sales become an important growth driver. Richemont just acquired full control of online luxury retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter

for 2.6 billion euros (2.2 billion pounds), but its digital strategy suffered a slight setback when its chief technology officer quit earlier this month after just four months on the job.

Net profit rose 1 percent to 1.221 billion euros, well below a 1.719 billion forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts, partly due to inventory buybacks of watches of 203 million euros in 2017/18.

The Geneva-based company had already resolved to undertake a 278 million euro inventory buyback in fiscal 2016/17 when a sudden fall in demand led to overcapacity and massive overstock at retailers.

It said it would propose a dividend of 1.90 Swiss francs per share, up from 1.80 francs a year ago and ahead of a forecast for 1.81 francs in the poll.

Shares were indicated to open down 3.7 percent according to premarket indications provided by Bank Julius Baer.
 

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