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Hermès notches up a strong first half

Family-controlled Hermès has posted strong first half 2011 results, as the Paris-based luxury company further consolidates its position as one of France’s strongest luxury groups.

Family-controlled Hermès has posted strong first half 2011 results, as the Paris-based luxury company further consolidates its position as one of France’s strongest luxury groups.

Hermès, maker of the famous Birkin handbag, reported a 22% year-on-year rise in revenue to €1.30 billion for the first half of 2011. Net profit too rose by 50% to €291 million, aided in part by the family’s sale of its minority stake in fashion group Jean-Paul Gaultier in May.

Hermès, currently managed by sixth-generation descendents of the company founder, attributed the strong growth to rising sales internationally, driven by the US and China. US sales grew by 34%, while Asia accounted for a 30% increase in revenues.

The growth follows Hermès’ 25% increase to €2.5 billion in 2010 full-year sales. The ongoing growth is positive for the luxury silk scarves maker, which has been under extensive scrutiny for its creation of a family holding company to protect against takeovers.

Under the leadership of family member Bertrand Peuch, 50 members of the founding family formed a holding company in January, in a move interpreted as a bid to deter a takeover from rival LVMH.

Also family-controlled, LVMH, famed for its Louis Vuitton bags, secretly bought a 21% stake in Hermès over the year by using a complicated derivative structure.

Hermès was founded in 1837 by Thierry Hermès. Peuch currently serves as executive chairman, while sixth-generation Pierre-Alexis Dumas is creative director at the business. Altogether, nine members of the Hermès family work at the company.

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