Feb 5, 2009
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Luxury group LVMH reports steady profits for 2008

Feb 5, 2009

PARIS, Feb 5, 2009 (AFP) - French luxury goods maker LVMH reported a slight rise in profits for 2008 on Thursday but declined to set targets for this year because of the highly uncertain economic environment.

Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy said its 2008 earnings reached more than two billion euros (2.5 billion dollars), narrowly beating the previous year's record, but sales had slowed sharply, particularly towards the end of the year.

Net profit grew fractionally year-on-year from 2.25 billion euros to 2.26 billion, it said. This was lower than analysts' predictions of 2.07 billion euros in profit, as polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Turnover grew four percent to 17.19 billion euros, the rate falling by half compared to 2007, mainly due to falling wine and spirit sales. The company's products include Moet and Chandon champagne and Hennessy brandy.

"The 2008 results demonstrate the exceptional reactivity of our organization in this period of economic crisis," said Bernard Arnault, LVMH's chief executive, in a statement.

"The group has always emerged stronger from previous economic downturns thanks to the dynamic innovation of its brands, the quality of its products and the effectiveness of its teams."

The company did not give figures for 2009. Arnault said he preferred to wait until the end of the first half of the year before making an assessment.

The head of the watches and jewellery division of the group, Philippe Pascal, said later that LVMH had begun a process of reducing headcount in this unit without saying how many jobs would be shed

Asked about job cuts, Arnault said that a restructuring was being studied and would be "very light" if it happened.

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