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2006 will go down for Luxottica as a year of double figure growth in the profit and dividend

March 8 2007

2006 will go down for the Luxottica Group as a record year with double figure growth in the profit and dividend. Enough to allow the bond to bounce back in the last minutes of the session, closing trading with an increase of over 1 per cent.

Yesterday, the eyewear giant, headed by Leonardo del Vecchio revealed the balance figures, which showed a net profit of 430.7 million euros, an increase of 30.2% compared to the previous year. Hence the decision by the board of directors to propose to the meeting, which will meet for the first call on 15 May, the distribution of a dividend of 0.42 euros per share, an increase of 45% compared to the coupon of 0.29 euros referring to the financial year 2005.

Back to the figures, in particular, the Group's billing for 2006 was 4,676.2 million, an increase of +13.1% compared to 2005 (+14% excluding the exchange rates). The retail billing in the turnover was 3,294.2 million, a growth of 7.6%, while wholesale stood at 1,715.4 million (+30.9%). As for the Group's profitability, the operating profit was equal to 756 million, with a jump of 30%, and the operating margin was 16.2%. Lastly, the profit per share was 0.95 euros.

As for the data of the fourth quarter, the billing was 1,110.6 million (+7.3%, with a growth of 13.9% excluding the exchange rates), to which wholesale contributed by 413.8 million (+24%) and retail by 769 million (+0.4%). There was also an increase in the net profit, which totalled 100.7 million (+32.4% compared to the same period last year).

«2006 - commented the managing director Andrea Guerra - was a record year. The results for retail, and above all wholesale, were considerably higher than the rest of the market, confirming the validity of a business model that allows us to maximize growth opportunities». Among the competitive advantages, the Group's number one also pointed out «the ability to make profit».

On 31 December 2006, the Group's net financial standing was 1,148.5 million, corresponding to 1.2 times the EBITDA, the lowest level reached by the Group in the last six years.

The figures announced yesterday by the Group meant an important increase on the stock exchange. After going the whole session down, in keeping with the market trend, Luxottica's bond managed to invert the trend at the last minute. And at the close of business shares registered an increase of 1.10% at a reference price of 23.93 euros.

(Source: Il Sole 24 Ore)

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