The board of directors at Merloni Elettrodomestici have approved the provisional results for the last quarter of 2002 and also reviewed the year-end figures. The last quarter confirmed the trend in rising profitability and turnover seen in the first three quarters. In spite of flat demand in the European white goods market in 2002, the company closed the year with yet another set of record results, for the fourth year running, with turnover up 26 percent and pre-tax profits up 42 percent.
"These results prove we made the right choices," commented Vittorio Merloni. "After the total integration into the Group of Stinol, in Russia, and now holding 60 percent of GDA (Hotpoint), we can consolidate our leadership position the UK market as well." As of January 2003, Merloni Elettrodomestici controls 60 percent of GDA (Hotpoint), whose income statement was 50-percent consolidated by Merloni in 2002. In 2003 GDA will be entirely consolidated and this will further boost Group turnover, expected to top 3 billion euros in 2003. The GDA acquisition will further strengthen Merloni's market share in Europe. Turnover through Dec. 31, 2002 amounted to 2,480 million euros, up 26 percent on 2001 (1,971 million euros). Of this increase, half (13 percent) is due to internal growth and the rest to the 50-percent consolidation of GDA figures. The Company's turnover grew in both Western and Eastern Europe and is explained by increased volumes and the improvements in sales mix for both the Indesit and Ariston brands.
Gross operating margin rose 40 percent to 319 million euros, against 228 million euros in 2001. Gross operating margin over turnover rose to 12.9 percent against 11.5 percent in the same period in 2001, thanks to continual improvements in production efficiency and the benefits of new economies of scale, which more than offset the slight rise in supply costs.
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