PARIS — Luxury kingpin Bernard Arnault is still in a mood to spend — but not for fashion.
This story first appeared in the June 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The business titan on Tuesday reached into more surprising territories by announcing investments in England’s Princess Yachts International plc and Groupe Paprec, France’s leading recycler of plastics and office paper.
The acquisitions were made through separate investment vehicles and signal that Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is on the prowl in different industries.
L Capital 2 FCPR, an investment group sponsored by LVMH and Groupe Arnault, acquired more than 70 percent of Princess Yachts from South African entrepreneur Graham Beck. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the purchase price is estimated at 200 million British pounds, or about $394 million at current exchange.
The deal is subject to antitrust approvals and co-investors include the Belgian investment group Cobepa.
Philippe Franchet, a founder of L Capital 2, told WWD Arnault was attracted to Princess’ reputation for modern, sophisticated leisure vessels. “It’s a company that has been growing steady at a double-digit rate,” he said. “And it operates in one of the most dynamic segments of the market.”
Princess, founded in 1965, produces 350 to 400 hand-built motor yachts a year, from 42 to 95 feet in length. Prices range from about 250,000 pounds to 6 million pounds, or $492,000 to $11.8 million, Franchet said.
Princess revenues are estimated at 195 million pounds, or $390.4 million.
The acquisition represents L Capital 2’s first venture into luxury boats, Franchet said. Its other investments range from food to garden furniture.
Separately on Tuesday, Financière Agache Private Equity, part of Groupe Arnault, said it would invest 100 million euros, or $155.4 million at current exchange, in Groupe Paprec, giving Arnault a 37 percent stake.