NEW YORK — Privately held Diesel on Thursday released financial results that showed impressive growth in 2004.

In a statement, Molvena, Italy-based Only the Brave SrL, Diesel’s parent company, said net profits last year came to 112.2 million euros, or $139.5 million at 2004’s average exchange rate. That marked a 50 percent increase from 74.8 million euros a year earlier.

Sales were 1 billion euros, or $1.25 billion at the average exchange rate for the year, up 27.5 percent from 788 million euros a year earlier. Annual sales of the Diesel brand  came to 909 million euros, or $1.13 billion. The firm’s other businesses include Staff International, 55DSL and Maison Martin Margiela.

The company is owned by Renzo Rosso and is not required to report audited results to a regulatory authority, as U.S. publicly listed companies must do. Rosso said in a statement that he chose to release the firm’s figures to correct mistaken impressions about its size.

The owners of private companies sometimes release financial reports about their businesses when they are considering making a stock offering. But Rosso, 49, has said in recent years he has no plans to sell the firm.

In a 2003 interview, Rosso told WWD that Diesel’s sales for 2002 were $600 million, or about 572.5 million euros at that year’s average exchange rate.

“This proves that we are reaping the benefits of an investment program started in the early Nineties and aimed at creating an efficient managerial structure,” Rosso said in a statement on Thursday. “The various processes within the group are now monitored and streamlined, and fueled by a strong product.”

The company has been on an expansion kick in recent years. Over the past year, it opened 21 stores worldwide, bringing its count to 173 units. The Diesel brand also has moved to position itself more upmarket and lined up additional licensing arrangements.

This story first appeared in the May 6, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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