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PARIS — Hermès International said its net profit jumped 46 percent in 2010, helped by strong sales worldwide, and it recorded its strongest operating margin since going public in 1993.
In what should come as welcome news to Bernard Arnault, whose luxury conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton owns 20.2 percent of Hermès, the maker of Birkin bags and silk scarves said it will propose a dividend payout of 1.50 euros, or $2.08, at its next meeting of shareholders in May. The interim dividend of 1 euro, or $1.36, paid on Feb. 10 will be deducted from that sum.
Hermès said net income rose to 421.7 million euros, or $559.8 million, in 2010, versus 288.8 million euros, or $402.7 million, in 2009. All dollar rates are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.
Operating income rose 44.3 percent to 668.2 million euros, or $887.1 million, from 462.9 million euros, or $645.6 million, the previous year. Its current operating margin widened by 3.6 percentage points to 27.8 percent, beating earlier forecasts of a 1 percent to 2 percent bump.
“This performance reflects the quality of our corporate model and the efficiency of our staff who implement it,” stated Hermès chief executive officer Patrick Thomas.