Hermes posts firm profits in 2003, sees expansion

25th March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 25 (AFP) - French luxury goods group Hermes said Thursday that its financial results held up last year despite global gloominess in the sector and that it aimed to keep expanding this year with new stores.

PARIS, March 25 (AFP) - French luxury goods group Hermes said Thursday that its financial results held up last year despite global gloominess in the sector and that it aimed to keep expanding this year with new stores.

The group's net profit firmed 0.6 percent last year to EUR 216.8 million (USD 263 million) from EUR 216 million, beating analysts estimates for EUR 210 million.

Operating profit rose 3.9 percent over the period to EUR 332.8 million despite weak markets, the euro's strength against the dollar and yen, and a slowdown in international travel.

Sales fell one percent to EUR 1.230 billion but rose 7.7 percent when calculated excluding exchange rate variations, thanks to the strength of US and Asian markets.

Hermes said it would maintain a high level of investment this year, including the opening of two new leather plants in France. Last year investments totalled EUR 94 million, of which two-thirds were dedicated to the updating of the distribution network.

The group also said that it will pay a dividend of EUR 1.70 for 2003, up from EUR 1.65 the previous year.

Hermes shares were showing a gain of 3.22 percent at EUR 160.40 in midday trading here as analysts applauded the results.


© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

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