Aurum Holdings revenues to exceed half a billion pounds in 2016/17

Watches of Switzerland

Jewel UK Midco Limited, the parent company of Aurum Holdings, has confirmed turnover rose 10.5% to £454 million in the financial year ended April 30, 2016.

Aurum Holdings CEO, Brian Duffy, told WatchPro in November that the group sales have been running 25% up since the current financial year began in May 2016, putting the business on track to notch turnover of over £560 million.

EBITDA for the 2016 rose from £28.2 million to £31.4 million, although operating profit fell by around one-third to £6.7 million.

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Exceptional costs relating to restructuring of around £200 million in loans and amortised costs from the investment in property – particularly the opening of Watches of Switzerland boutiques in London’s Knightsbridge, Regent Street and Oxford Street – affected the result in the 2015/16 financial year.

The cost of interest payments on debt rose from £20.6 million in 2015 to £27.3 million in 2016.

By May last year the group was operating 148 UK stores across its Goldsmiths, Mappin & Webb, Watches of Switzerland, and The Watch Lab; plus purely online stores Watch Shop and The Watch Hut.

Speaking to WatchPro before Christmas, Mr Duffy said there had been “headwinds” during the past two years, and that the group had a refinancing during the 2015/16 financial year. “We expanded our terms to support the degree of investment we have been making. That had a one-off charge. I would say that any reporting of the profit number is misleading,” he explained.

With the financial year ending April 30, 2016, the latest published report is for the period immediately ahead of Britain’s vote to leave the EU. Since that time, business has boomed. “We had a great summer. A lot of the headwinds we have faced for the past couple of years have turned into a tailwind,” Mr Duffy said.

Rumours persist that Aurum Holdings’ ultimate owner, Apollo Global Management, is looking to sell the British retail group.

On January 6, Mr Duffy restated that that no formal sales process has been initiated by its private equity owner.

However, he revealed that Apollo has appointed advisers to look into possible options for the sale of the business and recognises that Apollo will look for fresh investors at some point.

“Apollo is the best partner we could ever wish for, but they are a private equity company. They will sell at some point,” Mr Duffy said.

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