May 22, 2008
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Richemont says annual profit up 18 pct, to separate luxury business

May 22, 2008

GENEVA, May 22, 2008 (AFP) - Richemont, the world's second-biggest luxury products company, on Thursday May 20th posted an 18-percent rise in full-year net profit, and said it would separate its luxury business from the rest of its operations.

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Net profit reached 1.570 billion euros (2.478 billion dollars) for the full-year ending March 31, 2008.

Despite the financial turmoil, the group said it saw sales growth of 11 percent during the first three months of 2008, and that the "pattern has been repeated in the month of April".

The crisis affecting the global economy, however, is a "cause for concern", said Richemont's chairman Johann Rupert in a statement.

He said the group was monitoring the performance of its businesses to determine if consumer purchasing trends were changing.

But he also added that the group was well-positioned to "face the challenges of the global economy".

The group also announced plans to split up its businesses into two entities, with its luxury business to be headquartered in Switzerland, and an investment vehicle expected to be based in Luxembourg.

Richemont added that it was in discusions with British American Tobacco, in which it holds a stake, over the proposed restructuring.

BAT contributed 609 million euros to Richemont's results.

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