PARIS — The eyewear licenses for Tag Heuer and Fred will soon be up for grabs following the decision by owner LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton not to renew its contract with French eyewear manufacturer Groupe Logo. The licenses, which are said to have last been renewed in 2014, are due to expire on Dec. 31, 2017.
Reports pinning the subsequent fate of Groupe Logo, which is currently under receivership, on LVMH’s decision, have been strongly contested by Tag Heuer, meanwhile. The brand claimed it is Logo’s last remaining “significant” client following the departure of a number of other brands due to poor management of the group’s executive team and shareholders. According to a source, they include Salomon Eyewear, Land Rover, Naf Naf and Barbapapa.
“Tag Heuer is not responsible for Groupe Logo’s current situation. On the contrary, as far as possible, we have shown our support. Until only a few years ago, Logo managed almost a dozen licenses but most of them have since ended their collaboration with the company,” a Tag Heuer spokesman said. “Since 2012, Tag Heuer has repeatedly shared its concern over the serious problems at play and in 2014 signaled that due to the company’s abnormal operating conditions and poor management we would not be renewing our license.”
The licensing deals for Tag Heuer and Fred represent 97 percent of Groupe Logo’s turnover, according to Groupe Logo’s lawyer Renaud Semerdjian, who said the firm “will be put into liquidation soon.” Groupe Logo’s sales in 2015 totaled around 40 million euros, or $44.3 million at average exchange rates.
“Negotiations took place in December 2015 and there was a very abrupt decision made by LVMH to call off the discussions. One has to take into consideration the manufacturing cycle for creating and manufacturing new frames, which is a period of more than two years. When you make such an announcement, the direct consequence is you put an end to any orders that could come from the distributor network,” said Semerdjian. “Regardless of the contractual terms of the license, as soon as you make such an announcement, it amounts to the end of company.”
The jobs of 220 Groupe Logo employees in France and a total of 450 employees internationally are said to be at stake, with some 400,000 frames manufactured by the company yearly, according to Semerdjian.
Groupe Logo is based in Morez — the so-called eyewear capital of France — in the country’s Jura department. Semerdjian said local member of parliament Marie-Christine Dalloz has called on French president François Hollande to help find a solution for all parties involved.