Richemont founder returns as revenues slow

Richemont’s billionaire founder Johann Rupert yesterday returned to the post of chairman at the luxury goods firm, whose Cartier and Montblanc watches are a favourite with stars like Usher (left). Rupert, South Africa’s richest man, arrived back after a year’s sabbatical, at a time when sales are slowing in the company’s key Asian market. His comeback at the annual meeting in Geneva cheered investors, yet sales rose less than expected in the five months to the end of August, helping to knock four per cent off the share price yesterday. Luxury watchmakers are grappling with political instability in Hong Kong, the leading market for Swiss watches, and weak demand in China, where the government’s crackdown on corrupt gift giving has hurt sales of expensive timepieces.