* LVMH adds to luggage collection with Rimowa
* Founding family to retain minority stake
(Adds analyst quote, background, LVMH shares)
PARIS Oct 4 French luxury group LVMH,
owner of the Louis Vuitton brand, has agreed to buy an 80
percent stake in high-tech luggage maker Rimowa for 640 million
euros ($716 million), its first acquisition in Germany.
Founded in Cologne in 1898, Rimowa has built a reputation
for designing lightweight and easy to use luggage and expects
revenue of over 400 million euros this year.
LVMH is buying the stake from Dieter Morszeck, grandson of
the founder of Rimowa, who will retain a stake in the business
and maintain his leadership role.
Alexandre Arnault, one of the sons of LVMH boss Bernard
Arnault, will become co-chief executive alongside Morszeck.
Rimowa's aluminim suitcases, which cost between 300 and 600
euros, are popular with Chinese buyers who use to transport
luxury goods they buy when travelling abroad.
Analysts predict growth in the luxury goods industry will
remain subdued in the medium term but high-end travel is
expected to continue to grow strongly.
By 0731 GMT, LVMH shares were up 1.09 percent, outperforming
the CAC-40 of French blue chips, which gained 0.76 percent.
"This acquisition follows the acquisition of Tumi by
Samsonite, removing the only other meaningful high-end luggage
brand from the market. Luggage should be favoured by the
continuing development of tourism," said Exane BNP Paribas
analyst Luca Solca.
Samsonite agreed to buy New Jersey-based Tumi in a $1.8
billion deal earlier this year.
Rimowa is known for making the first aluminium flight case
in 1937 and the first lightweight polycarbonate suitcase in
It recently joined forces with Lufthansa to launch
the Rimowa Electronic Tag. This feature simplifies baggage
check-in by matching, with the use of a smartphone, the boarding
card with a Bluetooth electronic tag integrated within Rimowa
The transaction must be approved by competition authorities.
It is due to be completed in January 2017, the statement said.
($1 = 0.8937 euros)
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Maya