Swatch taps into Middle Eastern demand with stake in Rivoli

City A.M. Reporter
GLOBAL watchmaker Swatch has taken control of Dubai’s Rivoli retail chain, the latest luxury group to take a closer interest in its emerging markets outlets in order to use local knowledge to manage its image and better profit from rapid regional growth

Swatch Group yesterday raised its stake in the Dubai retail group to 58 per cent, taking over Rivoli’s network of outlets in the fast-growing Middle Eastern market.

Under the deal, the Swiss watch maker bought an additional 18 per cent of Rivoli from the private equity arm of Dubai Holding, owned by the emirate’s ruler, via its subsidiary Technocorp Holding for an undisclosed amount, Swatch Group spokeswoman Beatrice Howald said.

Swatch, which makes Omega, Longines and Tissot watches in addition to the fashion watches which bear its name, will take control of Rivoli’s network of over 360 retail businesses with over 1,500 employees in the Middle East.

The Middle East has been one of the fastest-growing markets for Swiss timepieces, at least partly making up for a slowdown in demand in China. Swiss watch exports to the UAE rose more than 13 per cent in the 10 months to October, making it the 10th biggest market for Swiss timepieces.