FEDERATED STOCK SPLIT: Federated Department Stores Inc. said Tuesday that it was instituting a 2-for-1 stock split if shareholders approve an increase in the number of authorized shares of the retailer’s common stock. Federated said the split would go into effect via a stock dividend entitling each investor to receive an additional share for each one owned. A shareholder vote will take place on May 19 in conjunction with the company’s annual meeting. Shareholders will vote to increase the number of common shares authorized to 1 billion from 500 million. If approved, the shares would be distributed after the market closes on June 9. Federated’s board also approved a 2 percent increase to the company’s quarterly cash dividend. If the stock splits, the dividend would be 12.75 cents.
CAT EYES: Puma is on the prowl in a new category. The activewear firm has signed a long-term, global licensing agreement with Japan’s Charmant Group to design, manufacture and produce functional and lifestyle eyewear. The first line of 20 styles of sunglasses will be unveiled this summer and is expected to hit stores by the end of the year. A selection of optical styles will follow for 2007. Prices are expected to range between $100 and $250, according to a Charmant spokeswoman. Under a separate agreement, Luxottica Group will act as the exclusive wholesale distributor of the line in North America and will also sell the new Puma collection through its retail network, which includes 4,600 doors in the U.S. and close to another 1,000 worldwide under names like LensCrafters, Sunglass Hut and Pearl Vision. Sales for 2007 at Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Puma are expected to increase 30 percent to 2.3 billion euros, or $2.75 billion. Charmant also makes Christian Roth glasses and licensed eyewear for Hugo Boss, Elle and Esprit.
SAFILO PROFIT DROP: The costs associated with its initial public offering bit into eyewear maker Safilo SpA’s 2005 profits. Safilo said its net profit for the 12 months ended Dec. 31 plunged 84 percent to 3.1 million euros, or $3.9 million at average exchange rates for the period. Sales rose 8.5 percent to 1.03 billion euros, or $1.29 billion. Financial charges for Safilo’s IPO last year totaled 19.5 million euros and bit into margins. Operating profits rose 5.9 percent to 117.9 million euros, or $147.3 million. Net profit before nonrecurring expenses, including those linked to the IPO, rose 21.1 percent to 18.9 million euros, or $23.6 million. IPO proceeds helped reduce net debt at the company, which dropped to 479 million euros, or $598.7 million, from 807.2 million euros, or $1 billion. Vittorio Tabacchi, Safilo’s chairman, said the IPO capped a four-year project to strengthen the shareholding and financial structure of the company.