LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group, has acquired Swiss watch dial maker ArteCad in the latest sign that watch makers are racing to acquire watch parts providers to secure supplies and meet strong demand.
No financial details of the deal were provided.
LVMH, which owns brands Tag Heuer, Zenith and Hublot, is one of many luxury watchmakers stepping up investment in production as demand shows no sign of weakness in spite of the global economic uncertainty, particularly in Asian markets.
Like other watch makers, LVMH is also keen to reduce its dependence on external providers of movements and watch parts such as those controlled by Switzerland's Swatch Group, the world's biggest watch group.
Swatch Group again this week threatened to cut supplies of watch movement to competitors. Swatch has been complaining in recent years that many of its luxury rivals invested too much in big advertising campaigns featuring sports and movie stars and too little in production.
This transaction will enable LVMH to further reinforce its industrial integration in watch-making and guarantee its independence in the strategic area of watch dials, the French group said in a statement on Thursday.
ArteCad, which was founded in 1885, employs 215 staff in Tramelan, Switzerland and produces more than 350,000 watch dials a year. The group said the company would continue to supply other clients aside from LVMH.
In July, LVMH's star luxury brand Louis Vuitton announced the acquisition of Swiss watch manufacturer La Fabrique du Temps, its partner since 2007, for an undisclosed amount.
Earlier this year, rival PPR gained brands Girard-Perregaux and JeanRichard as well as a manufacturer of high-end movements when it took control of Sowind Group. (Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by Christian Plumb and Elaine Hardcastle)