The Swish luxury group has treated its investors with an 83 percent increase in this year’s dividend to mark the company’s 25th anniversary. “The enduring appeal of our Maisons and their growth potential lead us to look forward to the futurewith a degree of optimism. Therefore our investments will continue to focus on the differentiation of our Maisons, the expansion and integration of their respective manufacturing facilities, and the adaption of their distribution strategies to the constantly changing customer environment in growth markets and tourist destinations,” said the company in a statement released on May, 16.
The stock rose as much as 7.6 percent to a record after the Geneva-based owner of brands that range from Montblanc to Chloe said it’s increasing its dividend 82 percent to 1 Swiss franc a share to mark its 25th anniversary.
Previously, Richemont shares traded 6.7 percent higher right after the company unveiled that sales in April rose 13 percent following a 30 percent gain in profit in the 12 months through March to 2.01 billion euros. The shares have gained 53 percent in the past year, giving the company a market value of 50.6 billion francs (52 billion dollars).
As stressed by Credit Suisse in a note to investors, “No surprises on the numbers, positive news on April sales and a reassuring dividend increase should be good enough to keep the upward momentum.”
In the same vein, Jon Cox, head of Swiss research at Kepler Capital Markets in Zurich, said the figures were better than expected and that "the dividend improvement, as well as a commitment to keep raising the dividend, was also well received."
Looking ahead, the Swiss luxury good group stressed that “Despite the slowdown in the Asia Pacific region and continuing uncertainty in the world economy, sales in the month of April were 12 percent above the comparative period and 13 percent at constant exchange rates. However, one month of sales should not necessarily be taken as an indication of the year as a whole.”
Cie. Financiere Richemont SA (CFR) Chairman and controlling shareholder Johann Rupert took the occasion to announce he is taking a year off, leaving management of the group on a team of executives including Cartier’s former CEO Bernard Fornas, Co-Chief Executive Officers Richard Lepeu and Chief Financial Officer Gary Saage. He gave up his CEO role to Lepeu and Fornas in April.
Chairman goes on sabbatical year
The 62-year-old South African billionaire ended his third round as CEO in March after having taken on the job in 2010 to replace his predecessor who resigned for health reasons. His sabbatical will start after the annual shareholders meeting in September, confirmed both Rupert and the company in a statement.
“Recognising the experience and expertise of Richemont’s Senior Executive Committee, comprising Bernard Fornas, Richard Lepeu and Gary Saage, I plan to take a twelve-month sabbatical leave of absence following the 25th annual general meeting in September. During my absence, Mr Yves-André Istel, Deputy Chairman, will Chair meetings of the Board of Directors,” Rupert said.