Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"I feel like I'm having a black tie dinner on top of a volcano"

Quote from Johann Rupert on Richemont’s Q1 conference call (May 16th):
“Folks, I'm not -- they begged me, my colleagues, please don't say it, but I feel like I'm having a black tie dinner on top of a volcano, okay? That volcano is China. But that's what I feel like. I go in the morning, we put on our ties and our watches and we go, and the food is better and the wine is better, and the weather is great, but let's not kid ourselves. There is a volcano somewhere, whether it's this year, in 10 years' time or in 20 years' time. We are exposed to China. I think they're going to travel more. I think they're going to survive. I think all of these things. But we are now a China play. And it suits us if the euro gets weaker. It's everything that I would never have thought 10 years ago, but that really is our business. Personally, I don't think anything's going to go wrong in China. That's my view. But I know nothing, and I mean it. I may be too optimistic about China. But if you have differing views, remember, it's critical.”

He also mentioned Warren Buffett a couple of times in the same call: 
"As we've said before, we're really in a business where we can wreck our own businesses. Mr. Buffett always talks about a moat, a moat around your business. Well, there's a big moat around a very well-run luxury goods business. I'm not going to wake up one day and find out that somebody has found a new way."
"Simply -- I think every manager's goal really is to make a company idiot-proof because sooner or later, an idiot will run the company. You've got to know that, okay? It doesn't matter what company in the world. So if you have likes Mr. Buffett said, you build moats, you build brand equity, you can withstand quite a lot of stupid things that we ourselves do. I'm not worried that somebody who is in another luxury goods company is going to think of something and that's going to kill our business. Whereas, if you're in the IT business or many, many businesses, it should keep you awake."