-- First-quarter net profit rises 14% to record EUR131 million
-- Sales in key emerging markets rose 36% in latest three months
-- Company says it views rest of year "with optimism"
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By Christopher Emsden
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIREs
Luxottica SpA (LUX) said Monday its net profit rose by 14% in the first quarter as the eyewear giant posted strong revenue trends around the globe and a 36% sales increase in key emerging markets.
Luxottica said it had record net profit of EUR131 million in the first three months of the year, compared to EUR115 million in the same period last year.
That figure includes a EUR15 million non-recurring charge related to reorganizing Luxottica's OPSM business in Australia. Factoring that out, adjusted net profit rose 27% to EUR146 million, the company said.
Analysts had an average forecast of EUR143 million in adjusted net profit.
Luxottica said its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 22% to EUR346 million as group net sales rose 14.9% to EUR1.788 billion.
Apart from sky rocketing sales in emerging markets, Luxottica posted an 8.5% gain in first-quarter North American sales, driven by strong wholesale trends buoyed by the launch of the new Coach Inc. (>> Coach, Inc.) brand.
Sales by Luxottica's retail channel, including U.S.-based Sunglass Hut, rose by 16% to EUR1.06 billion, with a third of the gain reflecting currency effects when translated into the euro, according to the company.
At constant exchange rates, Luxottica's net sales rose 11.1% on the year, much faster than the 6% to 7% annual revenue gains luxury-goods makers should expect in 2012 according to a report released Monday in Milan by Altagamma, a trade group.
Sales in Western Europe rose a more modest 6%. Both Ray-Ban and Oakley, proprietary brands, posted double-digit sales gains, while licensed luxury brands such as Burberry Plc (>> Burberry Group plc), Tiffany & Co. (TIF) and Prada SpA (1913.HK) had "solid results," Luxottica Chief Executive Andrea Guerra said.
The OPSM network posted a 9% gain in comparable store sales, signaling a turnaround of that business area.
"We look towards the rest of the year with optimism" despite the difficult environment in southern Europe, Guerra added.
Luxottica has been expanding in Latin America, notably with recent acquisitions of transnational retailer GMO and Brazil's Tecnol, which together contributed EUR40 million in sales during the first period.
Company Web site: http://www.luxottica.com
-By Christopher Emsden, Dow Jones Newswires; +39 06 6976 6920; email@example.com
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