INDO suffered a net consolidated loss of €8,001,000 last year, as compared to a net profit of €2,216,000 the year before, due to a variety of factors. Besides extraordinary charges of €12.6 million stemming from a court case over the severance fees of 120 Spanish employees laid off 3 years ago, the company spent more on personnel training, on R&D, which is close now to 3 percent of sales, and on marketing and advertising, which represents 5 percent of sales. The operating margin before amortizations (Ebitda) declined only slightly to 9.45 percent.

The company also invested more on its foreign subsidiaries as part of a plan to raise foreign sales up to 50 percent of the total turnover in 4 years' time from less than 27 percent last year. Its sales in France grew by 33 percent last year, thanks in part to a big new contract for its Superfin lenses with Krys. As reported, INDO recently increased its own stake in its Italian operation. In the USA, Global Optical Laboratories, a US wholesaler with 18 labs in the country, has now agreed to add INDO's Superfin lenses to its portfolio of products.

The group's total revenues were basically flat at €123,269,000, but excluding certain accounting changes related to its sales to key accounts, they would have risen by 4.93 percent, with sales increases of 3 percent in Spain and 12.5 percent elsewhere.

Last year, INDO sold 2 percent more frames and sunglasses in terms of units, but with an 8 percent increase in the total value, and revenues from these products jumped by 21 percent in the first 4 months of 2003. A growing portion of its metal frames is coming from the company's factory in China, which will produce about 600,000 units this year with a staff of 180 people. As reported, INDO is now building a new factory in Thailand, which should start up next May, for the manufacture of plastic frames. It should also produce single-vision Superfin lenses, building up gradually to 3.5 million units after 3 years of operation and taking over from a contractor in Singapore.

INDO recorded lower overall sales of lenses and equipment last year, partly because of a shift away from mineral lenses, still an important business for the company, with a manufacturing base in Morocco. On the other hand, INDO's sales of progressive lenses jumped by 26 percent and sales of its Superfin line of thin and lightweight acrylic-based lenses expanded rapidly. In the area of frames, INDO is establishing a new category of fun ?Cyber Eyes? glasses under its Chupa Chups license for children's eyewear. They come with a set of removable masks, inspired by videogame characters, that will protect them from the glare of the computer screen.