PARIS — EssilorLuxottica, the eyewear giant formed by a merger last year, reported a 7.5 percent rise in first-quarter sales, lifted by its optical retail business in North America, notably LensCrafters and Target Optical. In a statement, company officials, who have been locked in post-merger conflict, struck an upbeat tone about the process.
“Joint integration work is now solidly under way in many key areas,” said executive vice chairman Hubert Sagnières.
“I am very satisfied with the results of the first quarter of EssilorLuxottica, with all its business areas growing,” said executive chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio.
Sales totaled 4.2 billion euros, a 3.7 percent rise at constant exchange rates, with North American operations accounting for 2.2 billion euros.
Analysts at RBC said the performance beat estimates thanks to better-than-expected foreign exchange tailwinds, noting an “encouraging start of the year.”
EssilorLuxottica was formed through a 46-billion-euro merger of Italy’s Luxottica, the producer of eyewear under license for brands including Giorgio Armani Group, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Prada and Versace, and France’s Essilor, which makes lenses.
Sagnières has been engaged in a public dispute with Luxottica founder Del Vecchio since the merger was completed in October last year. In a rare move in corporate Europe, a Paris commercial court last month appointed Frank Gentin as a mediator to the divided 16-member board, which was split evenly between French and Italian factions of the company.