Logo's long-time CEO, Dominique Alba, anticipates a 40 percent increase in the company's operating profit this year, resulting in an Ebit margin of about 7 percent, and the debt has been reduced to only €1.5 million. Sales should increase by 4 percent to €49 million, with exports representing about 60 percent of the turnover. Inventories are down by 33 percent and the gross margin has improved thanks to a better product mix. Lead times have been shortened to react faster to market changes than some of the big Italian competitors. Service levels have been improved.
The #2 French eyewear producer after L'Amy has restructured its own brand portfolio lately to concentrate on higher-margin items that address specific segments of the market. Logo has taken over the Naf Naf license from a smaller French eyewear company, Albin Paget. Like its existing Elite collection, the line will target young women between the ages of 16 and 25. It had previously taken over the Cacharel license from Airess to appeal to slightly older women in the 30-35-year age group, dropping instead the Lanvin license.
Logo says the French fashion house wanted to charge higher royalties, but Lanvin, which recently took over its perfume business from L'Oréal, indicates that it didn't want to renew the deal until it got its house in order. The signing up of a new eyewear licensee is not a priority at the moment.
In the children's segment, where Logo is a leader thanks to its highly successful Harry Potter license, a new line, called Beyblade after a Japanese character, is going to be launched by the company in 2004. A separate business unit handles the company's two luxury lines, Fred and Tag Heuer, which are doing well and are manufactured for the most part at Logo's factory in the Jura region of France. Logo's factory in Indonesia, which now has its own tooling, continues to make the cheaper lines, including some of its private label business.
The management team appears to be more positive and motivated than at any time over the last 3 years, which have been tough. In 2000 the company shut down one of its two French factories, leading to a big loss. The next year Logo lost its lucrative Givenchy license to De Rigo, and in October of that same year Essilor sold its 44 percent stake in the company to the family of Vincent Darnaud, which already held the balance.
Recently, the Darnaud family reduced its stake in Logo to 49 percent. Alba and Gérard Bonifacio, a director of Essilor who is also in the jewelry business, now own 25 percent each in the company. The remaining 1 percent is in the hands of the staff. Alba has made various management changes lately and he feels that he has a good team now. This feeling showed through at the company's booth at the SILMO fair in Paris two months ago. Re-designed to represent an oasis of relaxation in a busy market, with a pool in the middle visited by a pigeon during the interview, it was meant to make up for Logo's abscence from the MIDO show earlier this year.