Gucci-owner PPR to Be Renamed Kering to Mark Transformation

Francois-Henri Pinault announcing the renaming of PPR | Photo: Nicolas Morice

PARIS, France — PPR SA, the French owner of Gucci and Puma, will change its name to Kering to cap a transformation into a specialist in luxury products and sporting goods.

The re-branding will take place on June 18, PPR Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault said at a presentation in Paris today. The name, the company’s fifth since listing on the Paris stock exchange in 1988, is supposed to evoke the idea of caring and signal a new chapter in the company’s development, a person familiar with the plan said earlier this month.

PPR, known formerly as Pinault-Printemps-Redoute and before that as Pinault-Printemps and Pinault SA, is disposing of retail assets it amassed in the past two decades to focus on luxury products and sporting goods, which are more profitable and have better growth prospects. Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault’s goal is to lift sales to 24 billion euros ($31 billion) by 2020 from 9.7 billion euros in 2012.

PPR aims to complete its transformation this year after spinning off the Fnac media and consumer-electronics chain and selling online retailer La Redoute, Pinault said last month. Once that happens, the name PPR wouldn’t have reflected businesses it still owns. The company sold department-store operator Printemps in 2006 and said Feb. 25 it agreed to sell two home-shopping brands to a Swedish buyout firm.

With its new focus, PPR, whose brands include handbag maker Bottega Veneta and surf and snowboarding clothier Volcom, aims to boost its share price, which has traded at a discount to its luxury peers because of its retail businesses.

Puma CEO

While PPR’s price-to-earnings multiple will probably rise after disposing of Fnac and the remainder of online fashion retailer Redcats, it may still trail rivals by that measure because of the sports lifestyle division, according to Luca Solca, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas.

Puma, Europe’s second-largest sporting-goods maker that was acquired by PPR in 2007, is taking longer than anticipated to turn around, Pinault said last month. Puma said in December that CEO Franz Koch would depart two years into the job. A search for his replacement is “very advanced,” Pinault said today.

By: Andrew Roberts; with assistance from Clementine Fletcher in London. Editors: Thomas Mulier, Paul Jarvis.