The Spanish company has a new executive chairman, Joan Casaponsa, who will spearhead a new strategic plan to focus on the business segments with the highest market value, indicating that INDO International may drop one of its multiple activities in the areas of equipment, lenses and frames. The new plan, which has not yet been defined, will be supported by an equity increase of €16.7 million whose details will be announced shortly.
Casaponsa, who is 51 years old, has been president of Lindt Chocolates in Spain and France, president of United Biscuits for Southern Europe and European vice president of Kraft Foods International. He will be the chairman of an enlarged board of directors, replacing Jorge Cottet Sebile, the 75-year-old son of INDO's founder, who has worked inside the company for 47 years. He still owns about 15 percent of the company's shares, the same as a sister.
Cottet has been relinquishing other important functions at EUROM 1 and Expoóptica over the last few years, but he will remain involved as honorary chairman. Antoni Olivella will continue as chief executive officer. Concentrating on strategic issues, Casaponsa will be spending more time at INDO than a previous executive vice president, Carlos Colomer, who has resigned.
He will be aided on the board by two new directors. One of them is Roman Mas, former managing director of the General Optica chain, who has been involved recently in publishing and mass market retailing. With his experience in the retail sector, Mas should help consolidate INDO's relations with Spanish opticians, 220 of whom purchase more than 50 percent of their requirements from the company in exchange for special financing conditions.
The planned equity increase will help to refinance INDO after the net loss of €11,134,000 that it suffered in 2007, compared with net income of €706,000 in 2006. The loss was due in part to extraordinary charges of €8.5 million including goodwill impairment charges related to its recent divestiture of Werner Schulz in Germany and to losses in Italy and the USA, where the company continued to grow.
The 2007 loss was also due to new provisions for layoffs of 70 employees, reducing its production staff in Spain to 42 people in frames and 120 in lenses. While INDO has been installing more robotized processes at its Spanish facilities, it has been expanding its factories in China and Thailand, which currently employ more than 320 and 120 people, respectively.
INDO's revenues declined by 4.5 percent to €141.7 million in 2007 because of lower sales in Germany and some other foreign countries, a higher proportion of low-priced products made in Asia and a softening in Spanish consumption during the last quarter of the year. Sales of high-end products such as LifeMade and EyeMade lenses and Carolina Herrera eyewear increased.
Equipment sales grew by 2.1 percent to €39.5 million, consolidating their position as the second-largest division of the group. Total sales outside Spain increased slightly to €41.6 million, rising to 29.4 percent of sales. The operating profit before amortization and depreciation (EBITDA) declined to €7.7 million from €12 million in the previous year.