French luxury conglomerate Kering Group announced on Monday (24 January), that it will be selling its entire stake of Swiss brands Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin.
These two specialist watch manufacturers are operating under Sowind Group, which Kering first acquired a majority stake in 2008. The current management of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin will become the owners of the two watch brands.
According to the press release by Kering, “This transaction is in line with Kering’s strategy, giving priority to the Houses with the potential to become sizable assets within the Group, and to which it can provide decisive support over time”.
Under the management of Kering, both Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin had “revamped [its] product universe, launched new iconic models”. The distribution capabilities, visibility, and brand awareness of the respective brands also improved tremendously.
“The extensive work carried out by the Group in recent years at Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin has laid the foundations for sustainable growth. Kering has demonstrated its ability to secure the conditions for the long-term development of entities leaving the Group, in the interest of their employees, partners, customers and local communities,” said Jean-François Palus, Kering’s Group Managing Director.
However, even when the global demand for Swiss-made watches is on the rise, Kering’s activity in the watch segment did not return to pre-pandemic levels. On the flipside, Richemont’s watch category grew by 29 per cent while LVMH’s grew four per cent.
Kering will continue to offer high-end timepieces through Gucci, which has unveiled its first Swiss-made high watchmaking collection in celebration of its centenary anniversary.
“On the sound foundations laid thanks to Kering’s support and investments, we have the right setup and resources to implement a plan capable of ensuring the long-term development of both brands,” said Patrick Pruniaux, CEO of Girard-Perregaux and Ulysse Nardin since 2018.
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