Dec. 3, 2007 – Finance Digest

Italian firm buys Oakley
Italian eyewear-maker Luxottica Group S.p.A. has purchased sports performance optics company Oakley Inc. for $2.1 billion, the companies reported in a joint press release Nov. 14.
Oakley will now be a wholly owned subsidiary of Luxottica Group.
Together, the two are expected to post $8.3 billion in net revenue for 2007. Luxottica Group expects the transaction will result in approximately $146.3 million per year in operating synergies within three years, driven by revenue growth and efficiencies. The two companies were previously long-time partners.
“Joint teams from the two companies have been focusing for months on the business opportunities we have ahead, which will become operating plans by year-end,” said Andrea Guerra, Luxottica CEO.
“While we have tremendous work in front of us, our early integration planning efforts give us confidence that the value of this combination can, in fact, be realized,” said Scott Olivet, Oakley CEO.
The Luxottica Group has more than 5,900 worldwide retail outlets, a brand portfolio that includes Ray-Ban, and manages leading retail brands such as LensCrafters and Pearle Vision in North America.

Ducati motor posts huge turnaround
Ducati Motor Holding continues its big economic turnaround, posting a $25.8 million gain in net income after its fiscal year’s first nine months.
Last year at this time the Italian manufacturer was reporting a net loss of $6.7 million.
Increasing motorcycle sales, including in North America, are behind Ducati’s turnaround. The first nine months of revenue from motorcycle sales of $350 million represented a 62 percent increase over the last year period.
Parts, accessories and apparel sales also rose. The first nine months of PG&A revenue amounted to more than $78 million and represented a 36.5 percent increase over the same period a year ago.
Ducati North America (DNA) CEO Michael Lock told Powersports Business previously that DNA’s sales were up 20 percent over the year-ago period. The company’s motorcycle shipments reflect that, as Ducati’s shipments to North America have increased 21.7 percent over last year. The company’s European market, which represents its largest market, also saw an overall increase in shipments of more than 30 percent. Overall, Ducati has shipped out more than 31,000 bikes this year, a nearly 30 percent increase over the year-ago period.
Motorcycle registrations for Ducati are up in North America, at more than 18 percent above the previous year period. Europe also is up — nearly 11 percent — while Japan has declined (8 percent).
“This quarter is the third in a row of constant improvement, emphasizing a continuing trend of positive financial results,” Ducati Motor Holding Managing Director Gabriele Del Torchio said in a press release.
Del Torchio also noted Ducati will concentrate in the final quarter on “controlling the quality and the volume of the dealer inventory.”

Piaggio Group two-wheeler sales on the increase
The Piaggio Group’s net motorcycle and scooter sales both have increased for the first nine months of its fiscal year in comparison to the same period a year ago.
The manufacturer reported a 12.2 percent increase in motorcycle net sales ($337 million) and a 3 percent rise in scooter sales ($1.04 billion) in its third-quarter financial report.
Overall, the company sold more than 560,000 vehicles in its first three quarters, a 4 percent increase over the prior year period.
Net profit, however, dipped below last year’s mark. The nine-month net profit of $96 million was a 14.5 percent decrease compared to the last year period.
Piaggio has reduced its debt to the current $377 million from the $462 million it had at the end of 2006.

BMW bike sales flat in October as its car sales rise
BMW’s motorcycle sales in October were essentially flat compared to the year-ago period, the manufacturer recently reported.
BWM’s worldwide sales of 6,907 motorcycles for October was 0.3 percent less than last year.
For the year, BMW has delivered 4 percent more bikes (89,686) than the year before, the company reported.
The company’s car division did much better in October, selling 13.2 percent more cars than in the prior year.

Assurant Solutions reports rising net earned premiums
Assurant Solutions, a provider of insurance and insurance-related products and services, has increased its net earned premiums in both its third quarter and for the first nine months of its fiscal year, according to an Assurant press release.
Assurant Solutions’ third-quarter net earned premiums rose 10 percent to $649.9 million and its nine-month total increased 6 percent.
The company said its quarterly performance benefited from its July acquisition of Mayflower National Life Insurance Company.
Besides Assurant Solutions, Assurant also has three other key parts of its business, including Assurant Specialty Property, Assurant Health and Assurant Employee Benefits. Overall, the company reported a 24 percent gain in net income for its third quarter compared to the year-ago period. For its first nine months, Assurant’s net income is 15 percent above last year.

Pirelli purchases stake in telecommunications firm
The Pirelli Group has become a major invester in a worldwide telecommunications company.
Pirelli recently bought a 12.4 percent stake in Avanex Corp. at a cost of euro 33.4 million ($48.9 million).
Pirelli’s Broadband Solutions unit and Avanex, which have complementary technology capabilities, will explore collaboration to meet growing consumer demand driven by broadband applications, such as Internet Protocol Television.
“The supply agreement with Alcatel-Lucent and the investment in Avanex,” said Claudio De Conto, general manager of operations for Pirelli, “strengthen the Group’s presence in the core business of second generation photonics after the start-up, in 2001, of the Pirelli Labs advanced research center and the incorporation in early 2005 of Pirelli Broadband Solutions, built on a long history of experience in the field.”
The agreement also is expected to strengthen the role of Milan, Italy, as a global technological hub for telecommunications infrastructures, due to the presence of Pirelli Labs, one of Alcatel-Lucent’s major R&D centers for optical solutions, and the local research center of Avanex.

Buell announces limited-time financing promotion
Through Jan. 31, Eaglemark Savings Bank, a subsidiary of the Harley-Davidson Credit Corp., will be offering a special financing promotion on various Buell models.
The promotion will be on new, previously untitled 2007 Buell XB models and XB demo units. Participants receive no money down, no interest for 90 days and no payments for 120 days. Financing is offered through and subject to approval by Eaglemark Savings Bank, according to Harley-Davidson’s Web site.

Bridgestone’s sales increase through first three quarters
Bridgestone Corp. has increased its overall and North American sales by 14 percent through its first three quarters, the company reported.
The net sales increase was partially due to the exchange gain on the weaker Japanese yen. Overall net income rose 64 percent.
Bridgestone did suffer a loss of $154 million as a result of its announced closure of two tire plants.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *