This excerpt taken from the LUX 6-K filed Aug 3, 2006.
Earnings per share: 0.50 (US$0.61 per ADS)
Andrea Guerra, chief executive officer of Luxottica Group, commented: Results for the first half of 2006 were outstanding all around, in all regions and in both our wholesale and retail businesses. We continued to significantly outpace growth in our sector, gaining additional market share in key markets as well as additional visibility and penetration for our brands. This resulted in an improvement in operating income by 35.3%, with operating margin rising significantly by 220 basis points to 16.0%.
Mr. Guerra continued: Year-to-date, our business showed signs of strength that we believe are important when looking at the second half of the year and beyond. On the
retail front, Pearle Visions line-by-line P&L improvement proved that its new business model is the right one. Sunglass Hut posted a fifth quarter in a row of double-digit comparable store sales and its new, completely fashion-focused store environment is attracting the right profile of customers. Similarly, LensCrafters renewed focus on premium fashion and the highest standard of service is paying off. In addition, the performance of LensCrafters stores with the new format is particularly encouraging. On the wholesale front, our luxury brands are experiencing extremely strong momentum, with house brands also performing well behind outstanding results from Ray-Ban. At the same time, already strong growth in existing markets was outpaced by significantly higher growth rates in emerging markets. As a result, today we are on track to deliver results for the full year 2006 above our original forecast, with net income expected to grow by up to 24 percent. Growth is then expected to continue beyond 2006 thanks to the many opportunities already existing within our business.
Luxottica Group now expects to post earnings per share (EPS) for fiscal year 20065 of between 0.93 and 0.94 (or earnings per American Depositary Share of between US$1.16 and US$1.17). Luxottica Groups updated forecast for fiscal year 2006 is based on a 1 = US$1.2444 average exchange rate for the twelve-month period, in line with the actual average exchange rate for fiscal year 2005.
Mr. Guerra concluded: I am especially pleased to report that cash flow generation was for yet another quarter one of the highlights of our results, with 150 million before the payment of dividends and acquisitions. This is an important testament to the strength of our business. On June 30, 2006, Luxottica Groups consolidated net outstanding debt was 1,505.2 million (compared with net outstanding debt of 1,457.4 million on March 31, 2006), showing a strong improvement compared with June 30, 2005.
The second quarter was a record period for the wholesale business. While sales to third parties a key measure of our wholesale business rose by 27.1%, operating margin jumped 330 basis points to 27.8%, in line with all-time highs for our wholesale Division. Main drivers of this performance were: the strength and further improved penetration of the Groups luxury and fashion brands mainly Bvlgari, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada and Versace; another strong, above 20%-growth quarter by Ray-Ban; and, ongoing success in strengthening ties with key customers around the world through our superior service.
In the retail business, the Group enjoyed another quarter of particularly strong results, especially from operations in North America, with overall performance and comparable store sales growth rates above those of the premium retail sector in that market. LensCrafters posted another above-average quarter, while Sunglass Huts comparable store sales rose by over 11%. Similarly, Pearle Vision posted its third consecutive quarter of growth, with comparable store sales up to mid single-digits and further improvements in profitability. In Asia-Pacific, the Groups optical business continued to be the main driver. Overall, operating profitability for the Groups retail operations rose by 200 basis points to 13.9% for the quarter, and by 220 basis points to 13.3% for the year-to-date period.
Results for the quarter and the year-to-date period reflect the impact of non-cash expenses for stock options6 of 11 million and 21 million, respectively, compared with no such impact for the first two quarters of 2005.
Luxottica Groups consolidated results for the second quarter and first half of 2006 were approved today by its Board of Directors.