Richemont Declines After $569 Million Stake Sale: Zurich Mover

Cie. Financiere Richemont SA, the owner of the Cartier brand, fell the most in almost two months in Zurich trading after a shareholder sold about 7 million shares for 539 million Swiss francs ($569 million).

The shares declined as much as 3.6 percent, the biggest intraday decline since Jan. 21. The stake was sold at 77 Swiss francs a share, according to two people familiar with the transaction. The stock traded 3.5 percent lower at 76.75 francs at 10:46 a.m local time.

“It’s the reason the share came down,” Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel, said by phone from Zurich. Uncertainty over the identity of the seller could also be weighing on the stock, he said.

Richemont shares have quadrupled in the past four years and touched a record in January as earnings growth was fueled by Chinese customers buying more jewelry and watches. While the stock is up 32 percent in the past year, analysts expect profit in the 12 months through March 2014 to rise 12 percent, less than half the pace they forecast for this fiscal year.

Alan Grieve, a spokesman for Geneva-based Richemont, said the company hasn’t been informed of any “significant transfers” of shares.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which is managing the placement, had originally set a price range of 76.30 francs to 77.50 francs a share, according to the terms obtained by Bloomberg News.

Seven investors have reported stakes of more than 7 million shares, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. cut its holdings by 5.8 million shares to 7.2 million shares, according to year-end 2012 filings.

Chairman Johann Rupert owns 522 million Class B shares, giving him 50 percent of the company’s voting rights, according to the company’s 2012 annual report. The Class A shares are traded, while Class B aren’t listed, according to Grieve.