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Hugo Boss sees sales growth slowing in 2012

BASEL, Switzerland (Reuters) - German fashion house Hugo Boss said sales growth would slow in 2012, after a record year driven by demand from Asian consumers seeking European luxury names.

Luxury companies, such as LVMH , Richemont and Burberry saw sales and profits jump last year and with China cutting its growth forecast for this year, many still see growth, but not at the same heady rates as in 2011.

Hugo Boss, known for its sharp men's suits, said it expected currency-adjusted sales to rise by up to 10 percent in 2012, with growth coming from all regions, compared with 19 percent in 2011.

Core profit -- earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and special effects -- would rise at a faster rate than sales, the group said on Wednesday.

Before the statement, analysts were on average expecting 2012 sales and profits to rise by around 8 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The group, known for its mens' suits, had already reported preliminary 2011 results showing sales of 2.06 billion euros ($2.7 billion) and core profit up 34 percent to 469 million.

It has set itself a target of reaching sales of 3 billion euros and core earnings of 750 million in 2015.

The group is controlled by private equity firm Permira, which last year denied the sale of a 6.4 percent meant it was on the verge of exiting the group.

On Tuesday, however, Hugo Boss said it will convert all its preference shares into ordinary shares, seen as a beneficial move for Permira, which first invested in Hugo Boss in 2007.

"Seems as if Permira slowly prepares for its exit," a Frankfurt-based trader said.

Also on Tuesday, Hugo Boss upped its dividend per ordinary share to 2.88 euros from 2.02 and to 2.89 euros from 2.03 for each preferred share. ($1 = 0.7628 euros)

(Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Additional reporting by Harro ten Wolde)

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