Maurice Lacroix owners put business up for sale

Watch maker Maurice Lacroix is being put up for sale by its Swiss owners, who are seeking to exit watch product operations.

A spokesman for DKSH Holding AG, a market expansion services agent with significant interests in Asia, confirmed the strategy to WatchPro.com without naming either Maurice Lacroix or Glycine, both brands wholly owned by the company, along with a branded joint venture with Davidoff.

In a loosely phrased H1 2015 summary DKSH Holding AG stated: “DKSH has decided to restructure its own brands in the sub-segment Luxury & Lifestyle. While in total the sub-segment developed favorably, the luxury goods business and the own watch brands were impacted by continued low demand in Asia, the ongoing industry consolidation and the appreciation of the Swiss franc. These combined effects led, after many years with above-average profitability, to a loss.

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“DKSH therefore resolved to separate from this business in order to further focus on its core competence as a Market Expansion Services provider, also in the Luxury & Lifestyle sub-segment. The core business, in which DKSH holds a leading position in Asia, offers attractive, long-term growth opportunities. The necessary adjustments were introduced in the first half-year of 2015 and will largely be completed by the end of 2015. DKSH therefore maintains its targets.”

That would suggest that Maurice Lacroix, Glycine and DKSH Holding AG’s interests in the Davidoff joint-venture are all on the table. DKSH bought Maurice Lacroix in 2011, when luxury goods consumption in China was far stronger than it is today.

This slump in demand from Asian markets coupled with the strength of the Swiss Franc is having a detrimental effect on all luxury Swiss watch makers with the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) reporting declining Swiss watch exports since June last year, with an 8.9% year-on-year dip in May, something which the Federation partly attributes to a shorter working month.

Dr. Joerg Wolle, president and chief executive officer of DKSH, said: “The sub-segment Luxury & Lifestyle historically reached above-average profitability levels. Lower demand in Asia, the ongoing industry consolidation and the appreciation of the Swiss franc, however, led us to restructure this business. This will positively impact earnings in 2016 already.”

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