The Marcolin Group's pre-tax profit more than doubled to e3,309,000 in the 9-month period ended Sept. 30, as compared to e1,426,000 in the same period a year ago, thanks in part to higher sales of high-margin products. The licensed lines of D&G Dolce e Gabbana Occhiali and Roberto Cavalli Eyewear continued to drive growth, raising sales by 62 and 55 percent, respectively. The new Cover Girl and Mossimo Vision lines also had a good start. Cébé International sales rose by 2.4 percent percent to e12.3 million.

Total sales grew by 10 percent to e122 million in the 9-month period, with an increase of more than 16 percent in the 3rd quarter alone. Among the major markets, the best score was obtained in the UK, with a 33 percent sales increase over the 9 months. Sales rose by 15 percent in the Iberian peninsula, by 12 percent in Italy and by only 6 percent in the USA, where they were affected by the difficult economic situation and the declining value of the dollar.

The operating income before amortizations (Ebitda) rose by 38.2 percent to e13,388,000, with Cébé cutting its losses from 883,000 to 196,000 euros. After amortizations and before interest, the Ebit grew by 83.3 percent to e7,026,000. Big investments for the modernization of the company's industrial facilities and the reorganization of its data processing systems in the USA led to a negative financial balance of e39.8 million, but the debt-equity ratio remains stable at 0.59.

Meanwhile, Marcolin has signed a new distribution deal in Japan with F&f, a company belonging to the Sunreeve group, that should generate sales of about e5 million over the next 3 years. Another e6 million in extra revenues should stem from another deal with Juma Al Majid Est Eps for the distribution of Marcolin's main eyewear lines in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrein, Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

A shareholders' meeting yesterday approved a proposal to enlarge the board of directors from 7 to 9 members, welcoming Antonio Bortuzzo and Giorgio Drago into the body. Bortuzzo, who was recently appointed as the company's new managing director, has seen his operating responsibilities expanded, but Cirillo and Maurizio Marcolin remains as joint CEOs. Drago and two other non-executive directors have formed a new committee charged of controlling internal operations.