Italian appliance maker Merloni Elettrodomestici announced growth in the first quarter of 2004.
Reported sales were 730 million euros (approx. U.S. $887.7 million), an increase of 3.9 percent compared to the first quarter of 2003, which had sales of 703 million euros. Growth in terms of volume was 5.5 percent, with demand in Europe growing by 5 percent.
Gross operating margin, at 83 million euros, increased 6.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2003 (78 million euros). The operating margin rose to 46 million euros, up 9.2 percent on the first quarter of 2003 (42 million euros).
Profit before tax was 38 million euros, an increase of 4.9 percent from the first quarter of 2003 (36 million euros).
The appliance maker said the results reflect good sales performance in all markets, innovative products that offset falling prices across the market, and tighter cost control.
At the company's Board of Directors meeting, CEO Andrea Guerra announced that Merloni is expecting to close 2004 with sales up 5 percent from 2003 and EBIT also up from last year.
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