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JV with Titan marks Montblanc's second coming to Indian market

Livemint:  December, 2015

New Delhi: Titan Co. Ltd, India’s largest watch maker, has decided to start the retail operation of its joint venture with global luxury brand Montblanc International, the company informed BSE on Thursday.

The move comes more than a year after the Rs 11,791-crore company got a nod from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to open stores under the single-brand retail investment policy in India.

As part of the venture, Titan will open five Montblanc boutiques in Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Pune in the next three months. Montblanc sells premium pens, leather products, watches, perfumes and jewellery.

The move will help Titan diversify into accessories and lifestyle market. It will also help the retailer that owns the Tanishq brand of gold jewellery diversify its premium offerings.

“With Titan’s strong position and Montblanc’s luxury offering across its portfolio, there is no doubt that the maison’s appeal and success will only continue to grow,” said Bhaskar Bhat, managing director of Titan.

The move comes at a time when sales at the company’s jewellery and watches business are witnessing tepid growth amid weak consumer demand.

Titan Co. Ltd’s net profit for the quarter ended 30 September dipped 39% to Rs 145.4 crore, lower than market estimates. Sales dropped 25% during the quarter to Rs 2,654.8 crore from Rs 3,564 crore in the year-ago period.

For Montblanc, it will be a second coming to the Indian market. Previously, since the 1990s, it used to sell its products through a distribution arrangement with ex-cricketer Dilip Doshi’s company Entrack International.

Montblanc is part of Swiss luxury jewellery and watch company Richemont SA. Through its subsidiary Montblanc Services B.V. Netherlands, it owns 51% of the venture with Titan.

Shares of Titan fell 1.42% on Thursday to close at Rs 371.85 apiece in Mumbai trading, while the benchmark Sensex lost 0.89% to close at 25,886.62 points.