Puig to replace Hermes in Gaultier: report

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Luxury products company Hermes is to sell its stake in fashion brand Jean Paul Gaultier to Spanish firm Puig which controls Nina Ricci and Paco Rabanne, the newspaper Les Echos reported Tuesday.

The report said that Hermes would sell all of its interest in the fashion design company and that designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, currently the majority shareholder, would reduce his holding by about 10 percentage points to 45 percent, the report said, citing what it termed various sources.

The operation would make Puig the majority shareholder, and the new investor would support the group if it issued new capital, the report said.

Jean-Paul Gaultier, who was looking for a buyer able to help the business to develop internationally, wanted to retain responsibility for artistic management.

Sales by the Jean Paul Gaultier business fell by 19 percent in 2009 to 23 million euros ($34.0 million). The company earns its income from licences for ready-to-wear clothing for women and from perfumes.

The perfumes have been developed with the group Beaute Prestige International, a subsidiary of Japanese company Shiseido.

Hermes was not available for comment.

© 2011 AFP

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