Despite a slight downturn in the fourth quarter, sales reached an all-time high of EUR20.6 billion. Free cash flow before the acquisition of a controlling interest in Gianvito Rossi reached EUR3.7 billion, from which EUR2 billion will be paid in dividends.

Van Cleef & Arpels CEO Jérôme Lambert also becomes Group CEO. Johann Rupert made it clear, to say the least, that he would remain in sole command of the company, something no one would have doubted in any case.

As usual, Rupert urged caution and tempered analysts' expectations. While his comments on the undermining of the "social contract" in China to explain the slowdown of the luxury goods market in the Middle Kingdom could make people smile, we note that Richemont continues to record sales growth there.

As we know, the United States has become the jewelry and watchmaking group's leading market. In twenty years, sales have risen from EUR3.4 billion to EUR20.6 billion, representing an annualized growth rate of 9.9%.

Operating profit rose from EUR300 million to EUR4.8 billion over the same period, an annualized growth rate of 15.7%. Earnings per share were multiplied by 22 and dividends by 14. It's impossible not to applaud such a track record.

The evolution of Richemont's valuation multiples is largely in line with that of LVMH. Historically, the Swiss company commanded a slight premium over Bernard Arnault's group, but this trend has been reversed for some time.

Kering has for its part stalled in recent quarters.

Richemont's market capitalization represents a multiple of x17 earnings, well below its historical average of x20 earnings. Nevertheless, its most successful franchises - Van Cleef, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger Lecoultre, Vacheron Constantin, etc. - have gained market share and consolidated their positions. - have gained market share and consolidated their dominance.

With its crown jewels, the Group appears well positioned to enter the next cycle. The subject of governance sometimes raises eyebrows, but here Richemont is no different from the other big names in French and Italian luxury goods.