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PPR Eyeing Rentabiliweb Stake

PPR is set to join rival LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as a minority shareholder in Rentabiliweb, a company which provides payment platforms for web sites.

PARIS — French retail-to-luxury group PPR is set to join rival French luxury player LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton as a minority shareholder in Rentabiliweb, which provides payment platforms for Web sites, market sources said on Tuesday.

Belgium-based Rentabiliweb, whose subsidiary, Mailorama, made headlines in November after a cash handout it had planned in Paris turned into a riot, last week unveiled plans to raise funds and transfer from the Alternext to the Euronext market in Brussels and Paris.

Rentabiliweb said it planned to raise around 18 million euros, or $25 million, in funds by increasing capital by roughly 6 million euros, or $8.3 million, and selling 12.2 million euros, or $16.9 million, worth of existing shares. Dollar figures are calculated at current exchange.

“In the context of this capital increase, PPR could take a stake equivalent to roughly 2 percent of the firm’s capital,” said one source. “This stake reflects PPR’s strong belief in the growth prospects of the online sector, in particular e-commerce.”

Officials at PPR had no comment.

Rentabiliweb is majority held by Saint-Georges Finance SA, the holding company of its chairman, Jean-Baptiste Descroix-Vernier.

Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, owns 6.3 percent of the shares through his holding firm, Groupe Arnault.

Rentabiliweb said it posted a net profit of 6.7 million euros, or $9.8 million, in 2008 on total sales of 56.2 million euros, or $82.7 million. It expects to report a 9 to 12 percent sales increase for 2009. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the period.