Hermes profit soars, positive on outlook

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French luxury brand Hermes, widely seen as a takeover target for giant rival LVMH, said Friday its 2010 net profit jumped 46 percent and this year could be even better.

Net profit came in at 421.7 million euros ($586 million) on sales up 25.4 percent to 2.4 billion euros.

Hermes head Patrick Thomas said "business is going well and we hope that 2011 will be even better, even though topping a year like last year will be more difficult."

Thomas said the company remained "prudent. When I read people saying that the luxury sector has got through the crisis, I do not believe that for a minute. There will be more ups and downs."

Hermes should see sales grow 8-10 percent, he said, adding that the company would keep a close eye on costs and its prices.

Global luxury retailer LVMH in December increased its stake in Hermes to more than 20 percent, prompting the descendants of founder Thierry Hermes to set up a holding company structure to thwart any eventual LVMH takeover.

© 2011 AFP

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