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Richemont total dividend up 20%

Luxury goods group has reported an 18% increase in diluted earnings per unit to €2.76 for the year ended March.
Swiss-based luxury goods group Richemont has reported an 18% increase in diluted earnings per unit to €2.76 for the year ended March 2008 from €2.331 a year ago.

An ordinary dividend of €0.78 was declared, up 20% from a year ago. Sales increased by 10% to €5.302 billion, with the good growth seen during the earlier part of the year continuing in the fourth quarter.

Operating profit from the luxury goods businesses increased by 21% to €1.108 billion. Net profit, including the group's share of the results of British American Tobacco, increased by 18% to €1.57 billion. Excluding the impact of non-recurring items in both years, net profit attributable to unit holders increased by 17% to €1.582 billion, the company said.

Cash generated by the luxury goods operations was €968 million. The 10% sales increase reflected good underlying growth across all business areas. At constant exchange rates, sales increased by 16%.

The Jewellery Maisons, Specialist Watchmakers and Montblanc all saw strong growth throughout the year. The group said its Maisons have positioned themselves to take advantage of opportunities in existing and new market areas.

Current crisis is cause for concern

"In established markets we invest in optimising our boutique locations and, have a comprehensive boutique refurbishment programme across all of our Maisons. In new market areas we seek to invest prudently, where we believe the potential exists to develop strong businesses in the medium to long term," the group said.

Richemont said the crisis currently affecting the global economy is a cause for concern. "We are carefully monitoring the performance of our businesses in all markets to establish whether consumer purchasing trends are changing.

"Over the first 20 years of its existence we have positioned Richemont well to face the challenges of the global economy. The Group has no net debt and a strong balance sheet and we have invested our surplus funds prudently.

"We fully intend to ensure that the luxury goods business will remain financially strong after any possible restructuring. The company will possess adequate resources to finance organic growth or, should appropriate opportunities present themselves, expansion through acquisitions," said executive chairman Johann Rupert.

Despite turbulent times, sales during the first quarter of 2008 showed growth of 11% at actual exchange rates and that pattern has been repeated in the month of April, with sales growth of 16% at actual exchange rates and 24% in local currency terms, he added.

"I am confident in the strength of Richemont and look forward to the next 20 years with a well-founded degree of confidence and optimism," he concluded.

Published courtesy of

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