ECONOMY

Folli-Follie expands in Asia

Luxury goods producer and retailer Folli-Follie yesterday reported a more than 30 percent rise in nine-month sales and profits on the back of continuing strong business in its key Asian markets. The company which produces and sells jewelry, watches, leather goods and perfume through its 218 retail outlets in 19 countries said nine-month profits after minorities rose 32 percent to 24.2 million euros. Group sales rose 34 percent to 92.8 million euros with a quarter of its business coming from Japan, and the rest of Asia providing 44 percent. «The Japanese market is continuing its strong performance with profits approximately three times those of the same period in 2001, despite a difficult economic environment,» the company said. Sales and pretax profit after minorities are seen as growing 30 percent for the full year, it said. Sales in Europe and Greece made up 12 and 9 percent, respectively, of the total, while sales from duty-free stores came to 11 percent of total sales. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 35 percent in the period to 27.3 million euros, while the EBITDA margin was maintained at 29 percent. Folli-Follie said it had opened 12 outlets in the third quarter in the strategically important markets of Spain, Japan and China, as well as Korea and Taiwan. The company now has 10 outlets in Spain, 58 in Japan and seven in China. Shares in Folli-Follie on the Athens Stock Exchange closed at 16.14 euros yesterday, a decline of 2.18 percent.