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Luxury watch retailer Kirchhofer for sale: sources

Saturday, March 5, 2016 - 00:22

[LONDON] Swiss luxury watch and jewellery retailer Kirchhofer is up for sale, three sources close to the matter told Reuters.

"Credit Suisse has been mandated to sell the business,"three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

All three sources said annual sales of the family-owned company were around 300 million Swiss francs (US$302 million). Two of them said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were about 60 million francs.

One source said the company could be sold at around five times EBITDA, but another source said the valuation of other jewellery retailers, such as Signet Jewelers, suggested the price tag could be as high as 10 times EBITDA.

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Owned by Juerg Kirchhofer, son of Fritz Kirchhofer who founded the company in 1944, the company has 230 sales staff and runs 10 watch and jewellery stores in some of Switzerland's main tourist locations, among them Interlaken, Jungfraujoch, Grindelwald and Lucerne, according to its website.

"Mr Kirchhofer has reached retirement age, which does not necessarily mean he wants to retire soon. Different options are being reviewed and analysed at the moment for the future of the company," Kirchhofer's finance head, Hans Wolf, told Reuters, adding nothing had been decided.

He said the group had in the past received buyout offers.

One of the sources said private equity firms and strategic buyers had manifested their interest. Potential buyers now have a few weeks to submit non-binding offers and a deal should be expected within three to four months, the source said.

The retailer, which sells almost all of Switzerland's well-known watch brands as well as jewellery, leather goods and cosmetics, focuses on Asian customers.

It has eight promotion offices in Asia, which cooperate with local tour operators and promote the Interlaken region and the firm's products and services.

REUTERS

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