Jimmy Choo L'Eau

PARIS — Interparfums SA’s first-half sales in 2017 rose 29 percent, bolstered by organic gains from existing fragrance lines and numerous recent well-received perfume launches, including Coach, Mademoiselle Rochas, Jimmy Choo L’Eau, Jimmy Choo Man Ice and Lanvin Modern Princess.

Consolidated sales in the six months ended June 30 for the Paris-based subsidiary of Interparfums Inc., of New York, reached 209.3 million euros. At constant exchange rates, the revenues advanced 27.5 percent.

Interparfums SA notched up sales growth in all regions, especially North America, where the increase was 33 percent, and Asia, with 29 percent. The company said the progression was more moderate in Western Europe due to a tough comparable with first-half 2016 resulting from the introduction of the Montblanc Legend Spirit line.

Philippe Benacin, Interparfums SA chairman and chief executive officer, discussed the sale of Jimmy Choo to Michael Kors during a meeting with journalists held in Paris on Wednesday. It had been reported prior to the deal’s announcement on Tuesday that Interparfums, the holder of Jimmy Choo’s fragrance license, had been working with Chinese private equity group Hony Capital on a joint bid to acquire the luxury footwear firm.

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Benacin said when Jimmy Choo was put up for sale a few months ago, Interparfums was indeed interested in considering taking a minority stake in the company. So it contacted Merrill Lynch and signed a nondisclosure agreement to receive elements of the dossier.

“We always said if ever we entered into Jimmy Choo, it would be as a minority shareholder because our business is not shoes,” said Benacin, adding that the footwear maker’s large size and market capitalization were also dissuasive factors to a full-out acquisition.

So Interparfums told Merrill Lynch that it could be interested o make a bid with another company that wanted to acquire a 75 percent or 80 percent stake in Jimmy Choo. Meanwhile, Interparfums, which could have invested 200 million euros to 300 million euros in the activity, studied the dossier and did due diligence on the business.

At no point was there any contact between Interparfums and Hony Capital. Benacin said Merrill Lynch had made some reference to a Chinese fund, without revealing its name, but did not bring the two companies together for discussions. Interparfums never bid on Jimmy Choo in the end.

Interparfums’ idea of possibly taking a minority stake was with the aim of renewing its fragrance license with Jimmy Choo now rather than, as planned, in 2019 — two years before the current contract is slated to run out, at the end of 2021.

In the first half of this year sales of Jimmy Choo fragrances, the second-largest perfume brand in Interparfums’ portfolio, rose 40 percent to 54.6 million euros. Montblanc, in the number-one slot, saw revenues advance 4 percent to 57.1 million euros, and turnover from Lanvin, Interparfums’ third-biggest business, advanced 38 percent to 30.5 million euros.

Rochas fragrance revenues were up 35 percent to 18.6 million euros, and the label’s fashion royalties gained 25 percent to 1.3 million euros. Benacin said a designer has been signed on specifically to create the label’s accessories, starting with the collection slated for next March.

Interparfums extended the Paul Smith fragrance license for another four years, so that it now runs through Dec. 31, 2021.

On the back of the strong first-half turnout, Interparfums raised its full-year sales guidance to 400 million euros, up from the 385 million euro to 390 million euro range it had previously announced. The company maintained an operating margin target of between 13 percent and 13.5 percent for full-year 2017.

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