LVMH stake in Hermes reaches 22.3 pct

PARIS Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:29am EST

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PARIS (Reuters) - The world's biggest luxury group, LVMH (LVMH.PA), has increased its stake in leather bag maker Hermes (HRMS.PA) to 22.3 percent and now has 16 percent of voting rights, according to a statement from France's AMF stock market regulator.

LVMH, which previously held 21.4 percent of its smaller rival, plans to continue buying Hermes shares "according to circumstances and the market situation," LVMH said in a filing to the AMF.

The group, led by billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault said it did not plan to take control of Hermes or make a takeover offer for the company, according to the AMF.

LVMH has been gradually increasing its holding in Hermes since it was revealed 14 months ago that it had built up a surprise 17 percent stake.

Hermes family shareholders have responded to the stakebuilding by creating a majority family holding that will shield it from the threat of a takeover.

(Reporting by Pascale Denis and James Regan; Editing by David Cowell)

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