Richemont Slides as Chairman Says Global Economy Is ‘Precarious’

Chloé A/W 2013 | Photo: Sonny Vandevelde

GENEVA, Switzerland — Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, fell the most in more than two months after Chairman Johann Rupert said he’s very concerned that the global economy is in a precarious position.

The shares declined as much as 3.2 percent to 88.80 Swiss francs, the biggest intraday decline since Sept. 12. The stock was down 3 percent at 88.95 francs as of 1:05 p.m, giving the Geneva-based company a market value of 51.1 billion francs ($56.5 billion).

“It is very, very precarious,” Rupert said at the annual general meeting in Cape Town of Remgro Ltd., where he is also chairman. “There will be tears, but we don’t know when, and we don’t know whether it’s going to be a big inflation or whether it’s going to be a depression. Just hedge your bets.”

Remgro is an investment holding company with interests including banking and financial services, packaging, wine and spirits, and personal care products. Rupert said that if the global economy doesn’t do well, Remgro is still well positioned, while Richemont isn’t.

“The luxury goods market is very cyclical and relies on consumers discretionary spend,” Rey Wium, an analyst at Renaissance Capital in Johannesburg, said by telephone. “When times are tough, consumers will tighten their belts.”

Among other luxury-goods companies, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA declined 1.8 percent to 135.80 euros and Kering fell 2.6 percent to 157.40 euros in Paris.

By Robert Brand, Janice Kew; Editors: Robert Valpuesta, Kim McLaughlin, Celeste Perri, Vernon Wessels