Sat, 12 Mar 2005

From: AFP

LVMH posts good 2004 profits

PARIS: The French luxury goods group LVMH -- which produces fashion, jewelry, leather goods, spirits and watches -- posted on Wednesday a net profit of more than one billion euro and said it would focus on top brands in 2005.

Net profit last year surged 39.7 percent to 1.01 billion euro (US$1.352 billion), up from 723 million euro a year earlier, on pre-announced sales of 12.623 billion euro, up 6 percent, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton said in a statement.

LVMH confirmed it expected to post a tangible increase in operating profit in 2005 as full-year operating profit rose 11 percent to 2.42 billion euro from 2.182 billion euro a year earlier, just ahead of the company's forecast.

Operating profit and net profit were in line with JCF Group's compiled forecasts of 2.41 billion euro and 1.057 billion euro, respectively.

Net debt continued to fall in 2004, with the ratio of net debt to equity narrowing to 50 percent in 2004 from 57 percent a year earlier.

The company -- which owns such brands as Dior, Dom Perignon, Celine, Givenchy, Hennessy, Moet and Chandon, TAG Heuer and Veuve Clicquot -- also said it posted organic sales growth of 12 percent for the first two months of 2005. -- AFP