LVMH increase stake in Hermes

LVMH has raised its stake in smaller luxury rival Hermes to 21.4% from 20.2%, the world’s biggest luxury group said on Tuesday as it posted first-half results above forecasts. The company added that it did not own any financial instruments, other than those disclosed, which could raise its Hermes holding further.

"In the course of the semester, we increased our shareholding in Hermes," LVMH Finance Director Jean-Jacques Guiony told investors and journalists in a conference call. LVMH, which took the luxury world by surprise last autumn by announcing it had built a stake in Hermes, has repeatedly said it did not want to make a bid for the maker of Kelly handbags and silk scarves.

LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury group, has always said it would buy shares in the market, while Hermes has been trying to defend itself from a possible hostile bid by setting up a controlling family holding. Its strongest growth in the first half was produced by its watch and jewelry division, which saw sales rise 27 percent on a comparable basis.

LVMH’s results come after Hermes and Burberry posted forecast-beating figures, providing further evidence the luxury sector is being shielded from global economic concerns.

from Reuters