* LVMH buys 80 pct of Loro Piana
* Deal values Loro Piana at 3.8 times 2013 sales
* Loro Piana's EBITDA margin is more than 20 pct
(Adds LVMH's plans for Loro Piana, analyst and management
By Astrid Wendlandt
PARIS, July 8 LVMH said on Monday it
has acquired 80 percent of Italian luxury cashmere clothing
brand Loro Piana for 2 billion euros ($2.57 billion), boosting
the French group's presence in high-end handcrafted products
popular with Asian buyers.
The deal gives Loro Piana an enterprise value of 2.7 billion
euros, or more than 3.8 times the company's expected 2013 sales
of 700 million euros.
Loro Piana, which is also an integrated manufacturer of fine
yarns, has been enjoying average annual sales growth of 17
percent over the past three years, which analysts said would
help make up for slower growth at other LVMH brands such as
"The price is steep but it is a fairly unique business,"
said Paul Swinand, analyst at market research house Morningstar.
Loro Piana, which makes 30 percent of its sales in Asia, has
enjoyed continued strong demand in China even as some other
luxury brands such as Gucci and Louis Vuitton have
Earlier this year, it said it expected sales to grow a
little over 10 percent this year, after growth of 13.1 percent
to 630 million euros ($815 million) in 2012.
Consultancy Bain & Co expects sales in the global luxury
goods market to rise 4-5 percent this year, cooling from 5
percent last year at constant exchange rates.
LVMH said it planned to expand the Italian brand's leather
goods offering as well as its footprint worldwide. Loro Piana
gets 85 percent of its revenue from its 185 directly operated
stores and shop-in-shops.
"We think we can increase the footprint of the brand without
impairing its exclusivity," LVMH Finance Director Jean-Jacques
Guiony told analysts in a conference call about the deal.
LVMH said it would finance the deal with cash and new debt
and expected the transaction to close at the end of the year.
Loro Piana's luxury products division makes earnings before
interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)
representing more than 20 percent of its turnover, LVMH said.
TALKS ONLY WITH LVMH
The takeover comes two years after LVMH's purchase of Roman
jeweller Bulgari for 3.7 billion euros and more than a decade
after it acquired leather goods maker Fendi and fashion label
In an interview with the French daily Figaro, Sergio Loro
Piana, who has been running the company with his brother Pier
Luigi, said the family only started talking to LVMH Chief
Executive Bernard Arnault a month ago.
"As soon as we took the decision to sell my brother and I,
we only wanted to talk to Bernard Arnault," Loro Piana told the
LVMH, the world's top luxury group, said the Sergio and Pier
Luigi Loro Piana family would retain 20 percent of the company
as well as their management positions.
"This should be viewed as a positive, opportunistic deal for
LVMH to acquire at a 'reasonable price' a niche, ultra high-end
apparel brand with a lot of heritage, a sound management team
and some strategic sourcing competencies," said Thomas Chauvet,
luxury goods analyst at Citi.
Some analysts said Loro Piana reminded them of French luxury
goods maker Hermes in that the company was integrated,
very high-end and produced timeless products.
Last month, LVMH received a slap on the wrist from the
French markets watchdog LVMH with an 8 million-euro fine for
failing to properly disclose its stake-building in rival Hermes
before 2010, of which it now owns 22.6 percent.
The Loro Piana acquisition gives LVMH access to the
high-quality wool and yarns market for which competition is
The family business, which started as a wool mill in
northern Italy in 1924, is now the largest Western manufacturer
of cashmere and baby cashmere, LVMH said.
It also specialises in very rare fabrics, such as the wool
of wild vicunas, llama-like animals that live in the Andes
mountain range and which it raises. Loro Piana's vicuna coats
sell for about 14,000 euros.
The company also uses lotus flower fiber and is a major
purchaser of extra-fine Merino wools auctioned in Australia and
One third of its business is the manufacturing of yarns with
the balance the production and distribution of luxury clothing
made from its fine wools such as capes, bags and vests.
($1 = 0.7773 euros)
(Additional reporting by Isla Binnie; Editing by Christian
Plumb and Phil Berlowitz)