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The human factor is the real differentiating factor in the support we receive from HSBC France.

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Philippe Bouchard, Group Treasurer, Hermès International Olivier Martin, Head of Middle and Back Office, Hermès International

Can you tell us a bit about the group?

Philippe: The Hermès Group designs, manufactures and distributes luxury goods: - mainly saddlery and leather goods, clothing and accessories, silk and textiles, perfumes and watches. It has been enjoying strong and steady growth for several years. In the first nine months of 2019, consolidated turnover grew by 16% at current exchange rates to reach 5 billion euros. The Hermès Group currently employs 14,284 people worldwide and has 310 exclusive Hermès stores, 219 of which are directly owned.

This trend is due to growth in international operations, which generate around 90% of consolidated turnover. Asia alone accounts for about half of our sales.

The Hermès Group has a unique and special place in the global luxury goods market. It has grown to become an international group, despite still being a human-sized company, true to an artisanal model built on human values, at the heart of which lie individual creativity and ingenuity. Our main strengths are our creative freedom combined with exceptional know-how, the never-ending quest for beautiful products, and a commitment to offering our clients exemplary service.

What are your domestic and/or international cash management needs?

Philippe: The steady growth in sales comes with solid cash generation, which allows us to maintain a strong cash position (3.7 billion euros as of 30th June 2019). The group is present across the world and we have significant product flows. We import raw materials for our production facilities. We export products to our various stores around the world.

Olivier: We need our international payments to be executed and tracked as efficiently and quickly as possible. We do not pool cash at a central group treasury level: it is controlled locally. We use two complementary cash management software tools, Kyriba and HSBCNet.

How are you supported by HSBC France?

Olivier: In partnership with the implementation team, our Account Manager Delphine Fernandez coordinates rolling cash management solutions designed to optimise national and international cash management. For example, she helps migrate subsidiaries to electronic payments and complex payment file formats. She is our interface with the HSBC Group. She also intervenes as soon any system blockages appear.

We are in regular contact with her. We speak on the phone every two weeks to review progress in ongoing projects and the obstacles to be overcome. These conversations are documented in written reports.

In addition, we meet at least every six months. We also meet at year-end to review the financial year and discuss the objectives for the year ahead. This is also an opportunity to examine the latest developments in the banking industry and for the bank to recommend innovative solutions. At the last meeting, for example, Delphine briefed us on the latest advances in instant payments from around the world.

This is useful because it supplements the information we get elsewhere by reading specialised publications, during business trips or while attending meetings and conferences. Ultimately, I would say that there is an ongoing dialogue.

How would you define the value added of this support?

Philippe: The Hermès Group has been working with HSBC France for some 30 years, and in international cash management for around 20 years. The bank understands our group, its culture and its strategy. This allows Delphine and the key accounts team to be proactive and to offer us solutions that meet our specific needs.

Furthermore, it has been our experience that the HSBC Group has genuine expertise in supporting multinationals, where its global footprint gives it a clear advantage. International cash management can provide a range of challenges and the local HSBC teams we have met during our travels, particularly in Asia, are well equipped to deal with them. They are familiar with local regulations and tools, as well as the local culture, payment practices and stakeholders. The combination of support from HSBC France and its global network is a vital aspect of the added value it provides.

What do you expect from our services in the months and years ahead? How can we help you achieve your goals from a cash management perspective?

Philippe: The luxury goods sector is experiencing profound changes with the digital revolution and the growth of social media. New purchasing and payment methods such as e-commerce and mobile platforms have emerged. The retail landscape has been radically transformed: omnichannel has become the norm. And this transformation, which is far from over, is global in scale.

Olivier: In this new environment, project management is becoming increasingly global and therefore more complex. A growing number of competitors are emerging in different countries and the time factor is now crucial. When a project is launched, it is essential for us to establish a clear timeline and to be able to complete the various stages to a deadline. The ability to be streamlined and responsive is essential. We expect our external partners - and especially the bank - to be as agile as possible.

Any final thoughts?

Philippe: We are extremely pleased with the support provided by HSBC France, which reconciles the needs of a large company with speed and proximity to the customer. Having the right tools or solutions is not enough; it is also essential to be able to apply them and this is where the quality of the teams comes in. The human factor is the real differentiating factor in the support provided by HSBC France.

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The Hermès Group
currently employs


people worldwide

The human factor is the real differentiating factor in the support provided by HSBC France.


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