Rumours have been circulating since the start of the year that LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods conglomerate, is lining up a take-over bid for Richemont.
Richemont executives were silent about the possibility of a deal throughout Watches and Wonders, but Johann Rupert, chairman and controlling shareholder of the group, dismissed the possibility during this week’s results briefing for the 2022-23 financial year.
He also said that discussions of a sale to Kering had come to nothing two years’ ago.
In a conference call with journalists and analyst, he was insistent that Richemont is not for sale, and called the rumour of a sale to LVMH “erroneous”.
That denial puts paid to the possibility that Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Bulgari might have found themselves under the same umbrella group at LVMH, which is controlled by the world’s richest man Bernard Arnauld.
Shares rose by 5% in this morning’s trading, valuing the company at €92 billion, an all-time high.
Richemont announced a 14% rise in sales at constant exchange rates to €20 billion for the financial year.
Jewellery brands Buccellati, Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels increased their combined sales by 16% to €13.4 billion and operating profit to €4.7 billion.
Direct to consumer sales now account for 83% of jewellery revenue.
Richemont’s watch brands grew sales by a more modest 8% to combined revenue of €3.9 billion.
Direct to consumer watch sales reached 56% of the total in the financial year, and almost three-quarters of turnover is now generated from “branded environments”.
Notably, Vacheron Constantin was singled out among the Richemont brands for topping €1 billion in sales for the financial year.
That would make Vacheron Constantin the eighth brand to join the billionaire’s club, if estimates by Morgan Stanley are correct.
The list of billionaire brands would be Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, Longines and Vacheron Constantin.
Richemont’s pre-owned watch specialist, Watchfinder, has been moved into the Fashion & Accessories group alongside Montblanc and Chloé, but its performance was described as “muted” in commentary alongside the financial report.