O grupo Richemont, o maior do mundo em termos de Alta Relojoaria (com marcas como Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC Schaffhausen, Panerai ou Montblanc), apresentou resultados para o exercício anual terminado a 31 de Março, com quebras de 4 por cento nas vendas e de 46 por cento nos lucros. A retoma maciça de mercadoria nos pontos de venda, sobretudo Cartier, devido a stocks "encalhados", ajudam a explicar a situação.
Do comunicado, assinado por Johann Rupert, Chairman:
Sales decreased by 4% at both actual and constant rates to € 10 647 million.
Excluding the impact of previously announced exceptional inventory buy-backs, sales declined by 2% at constant rates Sales of jewellery, leather goods and writing instruments increased
Growth was strong in mainland China, Korea and in the UK; the USA returned to growth
Operating profit decreased by 14%
Net cash position increased by € 452 m to € 5.8 billion
Proposed dividend of CHF 1.80 per share, an increase of 6 %
Key financial data (audited) for year ended 31 March
Change Sales € 10 647 m € 11 076 m -4%
Gross profit € 6 799 m € 7 118 m -4%
Gross margin 63.9 % 64.3 % - 40 bps
Operating profit € 1 764 m € 2 061 m -14%
Operating margin 16.6 % 18.6 % - 200 bps
Profit for the year from discontinued operations - € 539 m n/a
Profit for the year € 1 210 m € 2 227 m -46%
Earnings per share, diluted basis € 2.141 € 3.935 -46%
Overview of results The past year posed challenges for Richemont. The Group responded to changes in demand, which particularly affected our watch businesses, and shifting patterns of consumption. The Group has addressed those challenges by taking significant measures which, while having weighed on short term financial performance, will ensure Richemont is well positioned for the future.
In the year under review, Richemont reported a limited decrease in sales reflecting growth in retail sales offset by a decline in wholesale sales. The second half of the year saw an improvement overall. The USA, Richemont’s largest country, resumed growth while Mainland China, now the Group’s second largest country, enjoyed strong growth along with Korea, the United Kingdom and Macau. Excluding exceptional initiatives to improve inventory at our multi-brand retail partners and to optimise certain retail and wholesale locations, the decline in sales would have been contained to 2% at constant exchange rates.
Growth in jewellery, leather goods and writing instruments partly mitigated weak wholesale sales which were largely affected by the above mentioned initiatives. Cartier watches, within the Jewellery Maisons, and the Specialist Watchmakers were impacted by exceptional buy-backs and capacity adjustment measures. Montblanc, Chloé and Peter Millar reported good progress.
Our Maisons have continued to adjust their fixed cost bases and manufacturing structures to a sustainable level of demand. Accordingly, significant one-time charges were recorded in operating profit, which decreased by 14%.
Profit for the year was well below the prior year’s level. Excluding the one-time gain on the merger of the NET-A-PORTER and YOOX Groups in the prior year, profit for the year would have decreased by 24%.
Good working capital management limited the decline in cash flow from operations whilst cost control and the disposal of investment properties contributed to an increase in net cash to € 5.8 billion at 31 March 2017.
Based upon the cash flow generation and the increase in net cash, the Board has proposed a dividend of CHF 1.80 per share; up from CHF 1.70 per share last year.
As announced in November 2016, we are in a period of senior management change. My valued colleague, Mr Richard Lepeu, retired from his position as Chief Executive Officer on 31 March this year. He has played an invaluable role over the past 38 years in building Richemont to its current size and strength through his involvement with Cartier for the first 22 years, and at Group level for the last 16 years. I am pleased to say that Richard will be advising me on Group and Maison developments going forward.
I should also like to thank Mr Gary Saage for his contribution to ensuring financial discipline across the Group in his capacity as Chief Financial Officer. Richemont’s strong cash position is due in no small measure to Gary’s strict management of working capital – something that I know his successor will continue to pay close attention to. Gary returns to the US and hands over his position at the end of July this year. However, he will remain as a non-executive director on the Board.
Richemont’s new senior management team comprises Mr Georges Kern, who is responsible for our watchmaking businesses, digital and marketing and Mr Jérôme Lambert, who has responsibility for the Richemont regional platforms and services and for our other businesses other than Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and the specialist watchmakers. They both took up their new roles formally at the beginning of April, having benefited from a handover period with Richard. Mr Cyrille Vigneron continues to oversee Cartier and Mr Nicolas Bos Van Cleef & Arpels. Mr Burkhart Grund took on the role of Deputy Group CFO last year and will take over from Gary with effect from 1 August this year.
Annual General Meeting
The following board members will not be standing for re-election at the annual general meeting to be held in September: Mr Yves-André Istel, Mr Bernard Fornas, Mr Richard Lepeu, Mr Simon Murray, Mr Norbert Platt, Lord Renwick of Clifton, Prof Juergen Schrempp and The Duke of Wellington. We will miss the contribution from those former senior executives and non-executive directors and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of them for their loyal and valuable support. Their wisdom and knowledge of Richemont’s businesses will, however, not be lost to the Group, as they will continue to support your Board in an individual advisory capacity in the future.
At the annual general meeting, shareholders will be asked to elect nine new directors to the Board: Messrs Nicolas Bos, Burkhart Grund, Georges Kern, and Jérôme Lambert would serve as executive directors; Messrs Clay Brendish, Nikesh Arora and Anton Rupert, my son, as well as Dr Keyu Jin and Dr Vesna Nevestic would serve as non-executive directors. Their biographies may be found in the annual report.
Mr Clay Brendish, a graduate of Imperial College London, qualified as a Chartered Engineer. His professional background is in the Information Technology and Telecommunications industry, having founded Admiral plc in 1979. Clay currently serves as an advisor to Richemont’s Strategic Security Committee. If elected, Clay will serve as a non-executive director and will serve as lead independent director, a position he is extremely well-qualified to fill.
Dr Keyu Jin is an Associate Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. From Beijing, Keyu holds a BA, MA and a PhD from Harvard University. Her specific areas of expertise are international macroeconomics, international finance and the Chinese economy. Keyu will bring a new dimension to the Board and we look forward to her nomination being approved.
Mr Anton Rupert’s proposed appointment to the Board would bring further insight into changing consumer behaviour in our target markets, in particular in the areas of digital marketing and web-based commerce. Anton has had extensive exposure to the all of Group’s businesses over the past eight years.
Mr Nikesh Arora has had a distinguished career as a senior executive, an advisor and non-executive director. From India, Nikesh moved to the USA and held a number of senior positions in the finance and technology sectors. He was Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer of Google up to 2014 and was most recently Vice-Chairman of Softbank, the global telecommunications and technology company, and President and CEO of its internet and media operations. Nikesh will bring his great intellect and broad-based understanding of international business to the board and I look forward very much to his contribution to Richemont's future development.
Dr Vesna Nevistic has gained extensive experience in international consulting and finance having been a partner at McKinsey and Goldman Sachs. From 2009 to 2012 Vesna was a Group Managing Director at UBS and part of the team which restructured the bank's operations following the financial crisis. She holds Swiss and Croatian citizenship and has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Vesna is currently an independent consultant, offering advice on corporate strategy and restructuring.
We also sincerely thank the over 28 000 employees of the Group for the talents and skills that they bring to Richemont as well as their commitment and hard work, especially during the challenging times the Group has faced in recent years.
Volatility and uncertainty in the geopolitical and trading environments are likely to prevail. Our attention is focused on transitioning the Group to adjust to operating in a more sustainable growth environment, by adapting our product offer, communication and distribution to new consumption patterns while allocating resources primarily towards research and innovation, digital marketing, online sales platforms and training in all of our Maisons.
Richemont has a strong cash flow and a strong balance sheet that enables us to focus on value creation for shareholders over an extended time horizon. This approach allows our Maisons, which have significant brand equity and heritage, to plan and grow in what we continue to believe is a unique business with excellent long-term prospects.
Johann Rupert Chairman