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Richemont ready to inject cash in Lancel to sell it-sources Reuters - UK Focus – Wed, Oct 23, 2013 13:50 BST
Companies: OCT Inc. Kering SA
RELATED QUOTES Symbol Price Change 039200.KQ 1,495.00 -20.00 PPRUF 216.70 0.00
cartier * Swiss group struggling to find buyer for Lancel brand -
replica cartier * Richemont could inject up to about 20 mln eur in Lancel -
cartier rings * Change Capital, Lion Capital have expressed interest -
cartier jewelry By Astrid Wendlandt
cartier jewelry PARIS, Oct (KOSDAQ: 039200.KQ - news ) 23 (Reuters) - Swiss luxury group Richemont
could inject up to about 20 million euros ($27.6
million) into loss-making French leather goods maker Lancel to
entice buyers, sources close to the matter said.
luxury watches After trying in vain to sell the brand for several years,
Richemont hired Nomura bankers to help it find a buyer but there
have been more parties walking away than putting in bids,
several sources said.
"I understand that Richemont is ready to finance some of
Lancel's losses," one of the sources said. Two separate sources
who also requested anonymity said the investment could amount to
two years of losses, or about 20 million euros.
Richemont, Lancel and Nomura all declined to comment.
Richemont does not publish a breakdown by brand of revenue
and profit. Other sources who had access to Lancel's books said
the segment made an operating loss of 10 million euros on
turnover of 135 million in the year to June.
Turnaround specialist Change Capital and consumer goods
expert Lion Capital are among the only few that have expressed
strong interest. Asian group Swire is also looking to team up
with a private equity firm to make a bid, sources said.
Change Capital is a private equity firm set up by retail
veteran Luc Vandevelde which today controls French ready-to-wear
brand Paule Ka, while Lion Capital has invested in fashion
brands such as Jimmy Choo and still owns a stake in American
Apparel and AllSaints.
The sale of Lancel is part of Richemont's strategy to
dispose of poorly performing businesses, and focus on watch and
jewellery brands generating high margins such as Cartier and Van
Cleef & Arpels.
Richemont would not be the only group to inject cash in a
business it is struggling to offload. Sources said this week
that French luxury group Kering (Other OTC: PPRUF - news ) was ready to inject at
least 300 million euros into its La Redoute mail order business
in order to tempt a buyer.
Sources close to Richemont together with industry and
financial sources said they also expected fashion brands Chloe
and Shanghai Tang to be put up for sale at a later stage,
although no official disposal process had yet begun.
Luxury watch brand Baume & Mercier could also be hived off,
some industry sources said.
Richemont would benefit from a positive re-rating if it sold
underperforming brands such as Chloe, Lancel and Shanghai Tang,
analysts said, as its average operating margin would increase by
1 or 2 percentage points from its current level of about 24
"If Richemont showed that it had started to put the wheels
in motion to sell its poorly performing businesses, it would be
regarded positively by the market as it could then focus on what
it knows best," said Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux.
Richemont's fashion and leather goods brands, which also
include Dunhill and online fashion retailer net-a-porter,
represent only one fifth of the group's more than 10 billion
euros in annual turnover.
The disposal plan was one of the biggest decisions Richemont
Chairman Johann Rupert took in the group's 25-year existence
before going on sabbatical last month, people close to the group
"Richemont is much more of a hard luxury player, it knows
how to develop and sell watches and jewellery," a former
Richemont executive said on condition of anonymity.
Analysts have interpreted the sudden departure last May of
Richemont fashion and accessories chief Martha Wikstrom as
marking the start of Richemont's disengagement from the sector.
The group has moreover confirmed that is not looking for a
replacement. Bernard Fornas, the group's co-chief executive, is
supervising the businesses in the meantime.
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