LVMH to buy controlling stake in German high-tech luggage maker Rimowa for $716 mn

French luxury group LVMH, owner of the Louis Vuitton brand, today struck a deal to buy an 80-per cent controlling stake in German high-tech luggage maker Rimowa for €640 million ($716 million).

The Rimowa deal is LVMH's first acquisition of a German company.

The deal also comes two months after LVMH sold its fashion brand Donna Karan International to US manufacturing and licensing company G-III Apparel Group for $650 million.

Earlier this year, Samsonite International SA acquired New Jersey-based premium luggage maker Tumi Holdings Inc for $1.8 billion. (See: Samsonite to buy premium travel luggage maker Tumi Holdings for $1.8 bn)

Under the terms of the deal, Dieter Morszeck, grandson of the founder of Rimowa, will sell a majority stake to LVMH, and hold the remaining 20-per cent and continue to run the company along with Alexandre Arnault, son of LVMH's owner Bernard Jean Étienne Arnault.

Founded in Cologne over a century ago, Rimowa is a high-quality lightweight luggage and leather goods maker and its suitcases today serve as the industry benchmark for German quality.

In 1937, it launched the first aluminium suitcase available In the market and is easily recognisable by its parallel grooves. It also designed the first waterproof metal case in 1976, since which time Rimowa suitcases have become the choice for filmmakers, photographers and journalists.

It also introduced the first lightweight polycarbonate suitcase in 2000.

In partnership with Lufthansa, Rimowa recently launched the Rimowa Electronic Tag, which simplifies baggage check-in by matching, with the use of a smartphone, the boarding card with a Bluetooth electronic tag integrated only within its brand of suitcases.

Rimowa products are sold in 65 countries, through nearly 150 stores via licensees and a network of partners. It expects a turnover to be over €400 million at the end of 2016.

''My grandfather founded RIMOWA more than a century ago and I joined the company 44 years ago. By entrusting this family venture to the LVMH Group, we are guaranteeing a promising future to all RIMOWA employees,'' said Dieter Morszeck.

Over the past two years I have had the opportunity to establish close ties with the Arnault family, and in particular with Alexandre . ……….. I am delighted that he is joining RIMOWA and I have full confidence in his ability to accelerate the development of the business by my side,'' he added.

Dieter Morszeck plans to donate a "substantial" part of the sale proceeds to the Rimowa Dieter Morszeck Foundation, which funds projects in scientific research, public health, education and humanitarian aid both in Germany and internationally.