Hermès International is a French, high-fashion, luxury-goods manufacturer established in 1837. It is listed on the Euronext market and has done really well, rising to a recent market capitalisation of almost €50-billon.
The group specialises in leather, lifestyle accessories, home furnishings, perfumery, jewellery, watches, and ready-to-wear fashion. It is best known for its scarves, and its Birkin and Kelly handbags. Its crystal glassware division, Saint-Louis, is the oldest in the world.
Besides its stores, there’s an even more exclusive way to shop at Hermès: its secretive, standalone Sur-mesure atelier. In a Paris suburb, a dozen elite artisans painstakingly craft whatever its clients want‚ from canoes to a case for a man’s wife to carry her daily apple in. The Sur-mesure atelier works on about 300 projects a year and the majority of its commissions are leather goods. The artisans have reportedly completed quite a few private-jet upholstery jobs. The cost is high, but when you are buying a Gulfstream G650 for $66-million, I suppose that a few million more for a custom leather interior is not significant.
Shares in Hermès could also be an interesting investment opportunity. The descendants of the original Hermès founding family collectively own 65.1% of the group and have 74.8% of the voting rights. Luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH holds another 20.2% of the shares, which it sneakily amassed in 2010. Speculation that LVMH would launch a takeover bid for Hermès has been repeatedly denied by its chairman, Bernard Arnault.
• Theron is CEO of asset-manager Vestact.
• From the April edition of Wanted 2019.