PARIS – French luxury group Hermes (IW 1000/732) announced record net profits for 2014 on Wednesday, along with plans to pay out an "exceptional" dividend of five euros per share.
World-famous for its silk scarves and luxury handbags, Hermes logged $942 million in net profits last year, a 9% increase over 2013.
The announcement caused the group's share price to drop 1.43% to 306.75 euros in generally flat trading on the Paris stocks exchange.
Analysts pointed to profit-taking as well as disappointment that the results fell short of expectations.
The group announced in February that it had surpassed four billion euros in sales, with turnover up 9.7%, or 11.1% at constant exchange rates.
Sales surged notably in North America, where they were up 14.5%, and Asia, where they rose 13% despite a slowdown in China. European sales were up seven%.
Nevertheless Hermes, citing "economic, geopolitical and monetary uncertainties around the world", set a lower turnover target for this year of around eight percent growth at constant exchange rates.
"Hermes will continue its long-term development strategy based on creativity and maintaining control over its know-how," the group said in a statement.
The group said it would propose a five-euro "exceptional" dividend on top of a regular dividend of 2.95 euros, up from 2.70 euros in 2013.
It said it created nearly 700 new jobs last year including more than 400 in France, mainly in manufacturing and sales staff.
Its workforce stood at nearly 12,000 at the end of last year including just over 7,000 in France.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015