Richemont

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Compagnie Financire Richemont SA is a Swiss luxury goods company that was founded in 1988 by the South African billionaire businessman, Anton Rupert. It has four main business areas: jewellery, watches, writing instruments and clothing. The company is listed on the SWX Swiss Exchange (ticker: CFR). It is the eighth biggest company in the SMI (Swiss Market Index). As of 2004, it is the second-largest luxury goods company in the world by turnover; behind LVMH and just ahead of PPR.

Companies

Principal companies in the group are:

Cartier SA - jewellery, watches, etc.

Van Cleef & Arpels - jewellery, watches, etc.

Piaget - jewellery, watches

Vacheron Constantin - watches

A. Lange & Sohne - watches

Jaeger-LeCoultre - watches

Officine Panerai - watches

International Watch Co - watches

Baume et Mercier - watches

Montblanc - pen manufacturer

Alfred Dunhill

Lancel

Chloe

Old England

James Purdey & Sons

Montegrappa - Italian pen manufacturer

All companies, except Old England SA, are fully owned subsidiaries. In addition to the above companies, Richemont has an 18.5% (as at September, 2005) investment in British American Tobacco; about 40% of the Richemont balance sheet is BAT ordinary shares.

Anton Rupert

Dr. Anthony Edward Rupert (4 October 1916 18 January 2006) was an Afrikaner-South African billionaire entrepreneur, businessman and conservationist. He was born and raised in the small town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape. He studied in Pretoria and ultimately moved to Stellenbosch, where the Rembrandt Group was formed and still has its headquarters. He died in his sleep at his home in Thibault Street, Stellenbosch at the age of 89, and is survived by a son Johann [2], a daughter Hanneli[3] and six grandchildren.

After dropping out of medical school due to a lack of funds, Rupert earned a chemistry degree at the University of Pretoria, where he also lectured for a short while. Subsequently, he started a dry-cleaning business.

Some time later, with an initial investment of GBP 10 and together with two fellow investors, he started manufacturing cigarettes in his garage, which he eventually built into the tobacco and industrial conglomerate Rembrandt, overseeing its transition to the industrial and luxury branded goods sectors, with Rembrandt eventually splitting into Remgro (an investment company with financial, mining and industrial interests) and Richemont (a Swiss based luxury goods group). Currently, this business empire encompasses hundreds of companies located in 35 countries on six continents, with combined yearly net sales in the region of USD 10 billion.

Rupert had also been deeply involved in environmental conservation and his companies have been prominent in funding the fine arts; since 1964 foundations established by Rembrandt have used a part of the group's profits for the promotion of education, art, music and the preservation of historical buildings.

He also played an important role in the South African Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC), a non-profit company whose loans to small and medium-sized businesses have created nearly half a million jobs since 1981.

Although he was openly critical of the apartheid system during that era, both at home and abroad, he avoided confrontations that may have threatened his business interest.

In 2004, he was voted 28th in the Top 100 Great South Africans.

Business career

Rupert established the tobacco company Voorbrand in the 1940's. He soon renamed it Rembrandt Ltd., whose overseas tobacco interests were consolidated into Rothmans in 1972.

In 1988, the Rembrandt group founded the Swiss luxury goods company, Richemont, which in turn acquired Rembrandt's shares in Rothmans. Richemont also owns such luxury brands as Cartier (jewellery); Alfred Dunhill and Sulka (designer clothing); Seeger (leather bags); Piaget, Baume & Mercier and Vacheron Constantin (Swiss watches) and Montblanc (pens).

In 1995, Rembrandt and Richemont consolidated their respective tobacco interests into Rothmans International, which was at the time the world's fourth largest cigarette manufacturer.

In 1999, Rothmans International merged with British American Tobacco (BAT), the world's second largest cigarette producer. Remgro now holds a 10% and Richemont a 18.6% share in BAT.

Rupert's eldest son, Johann Rupert, is now the CEO of Richemont and chairman of Remgro.

The Rupert family is also deeply involved in the South African wine and liquor industry, owning the L'Ormarins and La Motte Wine Estates and having a stake in Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, the wine-making partnership between the Rupert and Rothschild families (at the time of his death due to a car crash in 2001, Rupert's youngest son, Anthonij [4] , was head of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons.)

The Ruperts also partially control two of South Africa's largest wine merchant houses, Stellenbosch Farmers' Winery (SFW) and Distillers Corporation, who together produce one of every six bottles of wine in South Africa and nearly eighty percent of the country's brandy. These two companies have merged to form Distel.

Among other interests, the Rupert Group also owns South Africa's second-largest chain of private hospitals, the Medi-Clinic Corporation, with 3,900 beds

Involvement in Conservation

Rupert was a founding member of the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and it was in his role as the president of the organisation's South African branch that he took a lead in the creation of trans-frontier parks (also known as trans-frontier conservation areas (TFCAs) or peace parks), such as the Lubombo trans-frontier conservation area.

With an initial grant of 1.2 million Rand (US$ 260,000) from the Rupert Nature Foundation, the Peace Parks Foundation was established on 1 February 1997 in order to facilitate the establishment of TFCAs in southern Africa. Nelson Mandela, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Anton Rupert were the founding patrons of the Peace Parks Foundation.

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richemont & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Rupert   2/7/06 - some links modified by Apparel Search

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