MILAN — Luxottica Group chairman Leonardo Del Vecchio on Wednesday took the opportunity to take stock of the Italian eyewear company’s performance over the past four years after the last board meeting before the delisting from the Italian Stock Exchange on March 5. The delisting follows the birth of EssilorLuxottica on Oct.1 last year.
Luxottica trumpeted cumulative results of the last four years, with estimated 2018 figures, compared to the period 2010-13: Cumulative sales increased by around 40 percent to 36 billion euros from 26 billion euros; adjusted operating income increased by approximately 60 percent to 5.7 billion euros; adjusted net profit increased by approximately 80 percent and estimated in a graphic to be a little below 1 billion euros totaled in 2017; adjusted net margin rose to more than 10 percent from around 7.5 percent.
The group also touted strong value creation for all shareholders, with a cumulative dividend in the last four years that nearly doubled its value compared to the period 2010-13.
The 2018 financial information has not yet been approved by the board and complete 2018 results will be reported on March 8.
Thanking the board for its “full support” to the management over the past four years, Del Vecchio said that “the results, when looked at cumulatively, reward the great work we have done even if not always immediately recognized externally.”
“At this moment my thoughts go to Luigi Francavilla, the companion of a whole working life. To his abilities and his passion we owe a lot of what we have built together. A special thanks goes also to our ceo, Francesco Milleri, whose contributions these last four years have made a lasting impact on the company.” Del Vecchio has been voicing his support for Milleri to take on the chief executive officer role at EssilorLuxottica, too, although the search officially begins this month and was described in October as a process that could take as long as the end of 2020.
As reported, Del Vecchio is taking on the role of executive chairman of the group, while Hubert Sagnières is becoming executive vice chairman with the same powers of the chairman. The group was listed on the Paris Stock Exchange Euronext in October. Italian media are reporting that management of the Italian Bourse and some analysts are hoping EssilorLuxottica will be also listed in Milan, although co-chief financial officer Stefano Grassi said in October he did not believe this would happen.
Del Vecchio said on Wednesday: “I achieved every goal that I have set to improve any single area of the group, making it strong, full of ideas, technology and passion and, at the same time, able to bring back the net margin above the threshold of 10 percent. This is the company that we bring to EssilorLuxottica, the new adventure to which I am pleased to give my full contribution. In these four years, we have completed a strong renewal of our top management and, never like today, Luxottica can count on strong leaders at every level, experienced but moreover fresh eyes, talented and ready to grab opportunities of growth in the market. To all of them and to our 80,000 employees around the world, I renew my special thanks for their trust, passion and loyalty to this wonderful company.”
Luxottica shares went public for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange at less than $1 per share in 1990 and will leave Borsa Italiana at over 50 euros per share, having multiplied its value by over 50 times in almost 30 years, noted the company, which produces and distributes eyewear collections for brands ranging from Giorgio Armani, Bulgari, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Prada and Versace and has a number of owned brands, such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and Persol.
Luxottica ticked off the achievement of the following: Organizational simplification; management renewal and company-wide digitization. It also emphasized the “complete pair” revolution, defined “a historical ‘first’ for the eyewear sector, [as] the group can bring a complete solution of lenses and frames to retail stores through a single service channel.” The company has completed the construction of three new state-of-the-art hubs in Italy, the U.S. and China, each capable of integrating the production and distribution of lenses and frames.