Kering strengthens its eyewear division with the Maui Jim label

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Gucci sunglasses are seen at the Mido exhibition for eyewear and eyewear products in Milan, Italy, February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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PARIS, March 14 (Reuters) – Gucci owner Kering (PRTP.PA) is bolstering its high-end eyewear division by buying U.S. brand Maui Jim, the French luxury group said on Monday.

European luxury companies have shown increasing interest in the eyewear sector and have tightened their grip on production capacity amid strong demand for luxury goods.

Kering, which bought Danish high-end label Lindberg last July, expects the Maui Jim deal to close in the second half of 2022.

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“It’s been a sought-after brand for years and it’s a significant achievement for (Kering) to add it to its growing portfolio, making it now, by far, the (#)1 high-end player. range globally in space,” Jefferies said in a research note.

Kering said the purchase of the Hawaiian eyewear brand, known for its high-end sunglasses, would take the group’s annual eyewear revenue above one billion euros ($1.1 billion) and improve its profitability.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but Exane BNP Paribas said the purchase price would likely be around 1.5 billion euros, estimating Maui Jim’s annual sales at around 300 million euros with an operating profit of around 20% in 2021.

Analysts estimate the profitability of Kering’s eyewear division at between 13% and 15%.

Kering began building an in-house eyewear division in 2014, and wholesale revenue topped 700 million euros in 2021.

It manufactures eyewear for its own brands including Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and Gucci, as well as for the Richemont Cartier, Dunhill and Chloé brands, among others.

The group intends to expand Maui Jim’s presence in Europe and Asia, including through the retail channel, and use its lens technology to develop prescription sunglasses for fashion brands , Kering Eyewear President and CEO Roberto Vedovotto said in a call with reporters.

Rival LVMH (LVMH.PA) announced last December that it was buying Thelios, the high-end Italian eyewear maker it launched with Marcolin in 2017.

($1 = 0.9127 euros)

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Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Edmund Blair and Jan Harvey

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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