Non-Executive Chair of VenFin Ltd., dr. Johann Rupert at the University of Pretoria on 15 October 2008.
ZURICH, Switzerland - Richemont, the world&39;s second-largest luxury group, said Friday it had enjoyed exceptional profit growth in the first half of its financial year as the firm moved on from a costly buyback of its high-end watches.
In the six months to September the company&39;s net profit soared 80 percent to 974 million euros ($1.1 billion), with sales rising 10 percent to 5.6 billion euros.
The group which includes jewellery makers Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels had indicated to investors last month that the results would show a strong progression, as during the same period last year it carried out a costly buyback of its luxury watches from its Asian distributors who were stung by a slump in sales.
"The first half of the year’s results and cash flow on a comparative basis have been exceptional, primarily due to weak results in the prior period," chief executive Johann Rupert said in a statement.
"While we cannot predict the environment for the full year, it is clear that the full year results on a comparative basis will not see the exceptional level of growth reported in the period under review," he added.
But Rupert said the results also reflected the "generally improved macro environment" and that sales still increased by 8 percent when excluding the impact of the buyback of the watches.
Sales in the Asia-Pacific region jumped 25 percent to 2.1 billion euros.
In the Americas they climbed by 10 percent to 890 million euros, driven by jewellery which benefitted from the reopening of Cartier&39;s flagship store in New York and a Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in Miami.
Sales growth was slower in Europe at 3 percent to 1.6 billion euros, where the strong euro was felt, although in Britain growth reached into the double digits.
The group, which also owns the label Chloe, said fashion also made a modest positive contribution to sales growth.