The operating profit margin (Ebit) should get close to 17.5 percent for the full year, says the management of Essilor International, predicting increases of 10 percent in sales and pre-tax earnings. In the first half ended June 30, the company reached an Ebit margin of 18.0 percent, up from 17.7 percent in the same period of 2003, on 10 percent higher revenues of €1,134.5 million. Essilor attributes this further improvement in the operating margin for the 5th year in a row to a better product mix and better cost controls.

The group's net income rose by 11 percent to €114.2 million during the 6-month period, and it would have increased by 17 percent if it had not consolidated its share of the losses of Bacou-Dalloz, the personal protection equipment company in which Essilor holds a 15 percent stake. VisionWeb, the American internet platform, continues to lose money and is expected to break even only in 2006 instead of 2005.

Essilor continues to budget annual sales increases of between 8 and 10 percent, with part of the growth stemming from future acquisitions. One important revenue driver is represented by large emerging markets like China and India, which together account for about 10 percent of revenues and 30 percent of the unit volumes.