WWD.com/business-news/designer-luxury/richemont-acquires-swiss-watchmaker-roger-dubuis-1707695/
government-trade
government-trade

Richemont Acquires Swiss Watchmaker Roger Dubuis

"Young" and "highly innovative" firm seen as different from luxury group's more established brands.

LONDON — Compagnie Financière Richemont has added another watchmaker to its luxury goods stable. The Geneva-based company, which owns watch houses including Jaeger-Le Coultre, IWC and Piaget, said Monday that it has acquired a 60 percent stake in the Swiss watch firm Manufacture Roger Dubuis SA.

This story first appeared in the August 12, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Richemont said it had acquired the shares from Carlos Dias, one of the founding shareholders in Roger Dubuis. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Roger Dubuis will continue to manufacture and distribute watches under its name, and will operate as an autonomous maison within Richemont. The luxury goods group added that Dubuis would benefit from its distribution being integrated into Richemont’s group structure.

“Roger Dubuis are highly innovative in terms of movement and design,” said Johann Rupert, executive chairman of Richemont. “As a young business, it is very different from the more established watchmakers within the [Richemont] group today…we look forward to developing the Roger Dubuis business internationally.”

Dennis Weber, equity research analyst in luxury at Dresdner Kleinwort in London, said the acquisition represented another step into specialist watch movements for Richemont, which earlier this year acquired the watch component manufacturer Donze-Baume SA. “As the watch component industry is dominated by Swatch, other companies want to increase their production capabilities,” said Weber, who added he believes timepieces are well placed to weather the economic downturn. “I think that the high- end, hard luxury [categories] will be more resilient than the softer, more fashion led categories,” he said.

Richemont said the transaction would not impact the company’s consolidated net assets, and will not have a significant impact on overall profitability for the fiscal year ending March 2009.

The purchase comes only a few days after Richemont said it would proceed with its plan to create two separate businesses — one focused on luxury goods, Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, and the other an investment vehicle listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange to hold the majority of its stake in British American Tobacco.