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financial

Safilo Proposes Dividend Hike

Italy's Safilo Group SpA said Friday it would propose a dividend of 0.085 euros a share, or 13.4 cents at current exchange, at its annual general meeting next month.

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MILAN — Italy's Safilo Group SpA said Friday it would propose a dividend of 0.085 euros a share, or 13.4 cents at current exchange, at its annual general meeting next month.

The eyewear company also said its board approved the 2007 financial statements, which were released last month, showing a 36.2 percent hike in earnings to 51 million euros, or $69.9 million at average exchange, on sales of 1.19 billion euros, or $1.63 billion.

Safilo, which has licenses with Armani, Dior, Gucci and Valentino, among others, returned a dividend of 0.02 euros, or 3 cents, a share for 2006.

The company also reiterated its forecast of an increase in sales of between 4 and 5 percent, assuming an average euro-dollar exchange rate of 1.47, and that net profits would likely hover around 4.5 to 5 percent of sales, thanks in part to an expected improvement in the tax rate.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are expected to remain at about 15 percent of revenues, the company said.

Safilo's stock closed down 0.39 percent to 2.05 euros, or $3.24, at the close of trading in Milan on Friday.
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