The French retailer and luxury goods giant PPR had opted out of the luxury watch segment five years ago when they had sold Bedat and Company. They have decided to get back in the lucrative segment once again by acquiring control of Group Sowind which is one of the few independent Swiss luxury watch manufacturers. The group has prestigious brands in its portfolio including Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard. Their watches enjoy a fairly strong presence in over 60 countries. PPR announced that they have become the majority shareholder of Sowind with 50.1% of the capital under their control.
PPR already had 23% of Sowind under their control. They did not declare how much was paid for the balance stake in the group. However, the formalities of the transaction and transfer of shares have been completed. PPR’s chief executive will become chairman of Sowind Group, alongside Monica Mailander Macaluso, who becomes vice-chairman. François-Henri Pinault, the Chief Executive of PPR sees enormous potential in prestigious brands like Girard-Perregaux. It will give the luxury group a strong presence in the high end watch making segment.
The experts in the industry see it as a win-win situation for both parties. As a result of change in ownership Sowind Group’s international growth will get a big boost as the PPR’s distribution muscle worldwide will market it effectively in all the relevant markets. The new owners will also support new product developments more attuned to the demands from the markets. They are pioneering Swiss luxury watch brands with a capacity to manufacture 15,000 pieces of high end watches annually. The watchmaking group with 270 employees is based in Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland.