MILAN – After three years of losses, Italy’s Marcolin SpA is back in the black and quietly confident of performing well in 2009, despite the difficult economic conditions.

The eyewear company generated net profits of 6.1 million euros, or $9 million, in 2008, compared to losses of 6.9 million euros, or $9.5 million in 2007. For the 12 months through Dec. 31, revenues gained 2.5 percent to 186.8 million euros, or $274.8 million.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization nearly doubled to 20.9 million euros, or $30.8 million, while the firm’s net indebtedness fell 11 percent to 32.7 million euros, or $48.1 million.

Dollar figures were converted at average exchange rates for the periods to which they refer.

In a statement, Marcolin chief executive officer Massimo Saracchi described 2009 as “a very challenging year” but anticipated “good results” due a series of efficiency savings, some of which were introduced last year, strict cost control and new licenses including Tod’s, Hogan, DSquared2 and John Galliano.

The company, which also makes eyewear for Roberto Cavalli, Tom Ford and Montblanc among others, added that it was analyzing “various proposals” for other licenses to further strengthen its brand portfolio.

By geography, 2008 turnover fell around 2 percent in Italy and the rest of Europe – together representing over 60 percent of the group’s total – although Marcolin attributed the dip to house label Cebe exiting the winter sports category. Sales were up marginally in the U.S., although at constant exchange they gained 12 percent. However, these were more than compensated for by a 21 percent gain in the rest of the world, in particular Brazil, South Korea, United Arab Emirates and Turkey.

At the end of April, the company will propose to shareholders a plan to buyback up to 10 percent of its capital in order to stabilize its stock, which has fallen 22.3 percent in the last year.

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