Piaggio Posts $5.4 Million Net Profit for 2004

Italy’s Piaggio & C. SpA posted a consolidated net profit of Euro 4.1 million ($5.4 million) for 2004, compared to a net loss of Euro 139.5 million ($182.8 million) for 2003.
Operating profit rose almost threefold to Euro 68 million from Euro 25 million, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, rose 39% to Euro 130 million, Piaggio said.
Net revenue increased by 9.8% year-on-year to Euro 1.084 billion ($1.421 billion), due largely to sales of new models with larger engines and a 45% jump in light commercial vehicle sales in India, the company said.
Year-end net debt rose to Euro 336 million from Euro 282 million, due to the acquisition of rival motorcycle maker Aprilia.
In other company news, Piaggio named Daniele Bandiera, the former boss of Fiat SpA’s (FIA) Alfa Romeo car unit, as CEO. Moto Guzzi was a part of Piaggio’s purchase of Aprilia.
In charge of relaunching Piaggio’s recently acquired Moto Guzzi motorcycle brand, Bandiera, 47, began his career at Italian state-owned aerospace and engineering holding company Finmeccanica. He then served as manager of global production at Fiat Auto, and as president of Fiat’s unit Alfa Romeo. He left Fiat in October 2004.
Piaggio is investing Euro 5 million ($6.6 million) in Moto Guzzi in 2005, Chief Executive Rocco Sabelli was reported to have said last month in the Italian press.
Piaggio’s relaunch plan for Moto Guzzi calls for bolstering its retail network and increasing its market share in the U.S. and India. Moto Guzzi plans to launch two new models in 2005, the Breva 1100 and the Griso. Piaggio says it wants to keep the 225 employees on the payroll at the Moto Guzzi factory near Milan and double production from a current 5,600 bikes a year to a medium-term goal of 10,000.
Separately, Piaggio will present its new Vespa LX series – a replacement for the ET series – next week in Rome. Powersports Business plans to be there for the unveiling.

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