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Piaggio Rebounds from Loss to Profit

Piaggio & C. SpA says net profit for the first nine months of 2004 was Euro 19.9 million, compared to a Euro 34.3 million loss for the same period last year. Cost cutting, lower interest payments and a new, more flexible agreement with unions have all combined to guide Piaggio back into the black, the company revealed Friday.
Sales were Euro 863.4 million, up 7.8% compared to the prior year period. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were Euro 111.5 million, up 15.9% from last year. Earnings before interest and taxes, or EBIT, were Euro 64.2 million, up 37.2%.
Net debt was Euro 249.5 million, compared with Euro 234.8 million at the end of June 2004.
In other Piaggio news, the Italian anti-trust authorities are expected to make a decision regarding Piaggio's acquisition of Aprilia by Nov. 25, according to Italian press reports.
Commissioners reportedly have concerns that the merger would create a dominant position in the 50cc scooter market, reports Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.
In view of Aprilia's urgent financial situation, Piaggio is cooperating with EU officials and has proposed a series of undertakings to diminish the Commission's concerns, the paper said.

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