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Richemont stock rises following Third Point investment rumours



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Richemont surged on the Swiss stock exchange on Monday on press reports that the US activist hedge fund Third Point has bought a stake in the luxury goods group.

According to the Financial Times newspaper and the Miss Tweed online news portal, the New York-based hedge fund founded by US activist investor Daniel Loeb has bought into the Geneva-based group, which counts Cartier among its brands.

And the US fund Artisan Partners, which owns 1.2 percent of the company and has held a stake for several years, is also pushing for Richemont to improve its performance, said the FT, citing an unnamed source.

At 1323 GMT, Richemont shares were up 3.57 percent at 124.60 Swiss francs, significantly outperforming the SMI, the Swiss stock exchange's benchmark index, which was up 0.36 percent.

Richemont and Third Point declined to comment when contacted by AFP. Third Point is known to push large groups into speeding up changes. In October, it notably invested several hundred million dollars in the oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, calling for it to split into several companies due to what Loeb sees as an inconsistent strategy.

In Switzerland, it targeted Nestle in 2017, six months after the arrival of a new boss, criticising the food giant for trailing in the wake of smaller competitors more in tune with new consumer trends.

According to FT, Richemont has been criticised for not keeping pace with its competitors during a decade of growth for the luxury sector, boosted by demand from Chinese consumers.

Though Richemont chairman Johann Rupert only holds 9.1 percent of the capital, he nevertheless controls 50 percent of the voting rights.

Richemont, which realises more than half of its turnover in jewellery, is due to publish its half-year results on Friday.(AFP)