Allison's results for the 3rd quarter, the last one under the ownership of IT Holding, confirm the Italian company's growth, with sales for the 9-month period ended Sept. 30 up 52.4 percent to €56.7 million for the 9-month period.

Last year Allison's sales had declined by 4.8 percent mainly because of a reduction in its contract manufacturing activities, in particular on Nike eyewear for Marchon. Contract manufacturing has in fact become a marginal activity for Allison, and will have been phased out altogether by 2006.

Instead, Allison has been emphasizing the production of high-end lines under license. The company has in fact confirmed a 5-year licensing agreement, renewable for a further 5 years, with Mercedes-Benz. The Italian manufacturer will produce Mercedes sunglasses and prescription eyewear for the German automotive company. The first collection will consist of 25 models, at the top end of the market both in terms of style and technology, which will be put on sale in selected outlets after their presentation at MIDO next spring.

As reported, Allison has gone through a management buyout financed by the Carisma group. The transaction has taken the firm's equity up from €1.6 million to €17 million.