Italy's Cucinelli aims to pay out 50 pct of earnings in dividends by 2020

May 10 (Reuters) - Italian luxury group Brunello Cucinelli plans to increase the proportion of earnings it pays out as dividends to 50 percent by 2020, its Chief Executive and Chairman Brunello Cucinelli said on Thursday.

The company, known for its plush cashmere, lifted the dividend paid on 2017 results by 69 percent to 0.27 euros per share, equating to 35.9 percent of earnings.

“We imagine that reaching a stable payout of 50 percent in a couple of years would be only fair,” Cucinelli told analysts in a conference call after the company’s first-quarter sales update.

He said the company would reach that target gradually, as it is aiming for a dividend payout ratio of 40 percent on 2018 results and 45 percent on 2019 results.

The company posted a 9.1 percent rise in first-quarter revenues to 148.3 million euros ($176.8 million), an increase of 12.2 percent at constant exchange rates.

It also confirmed its full-year guidance for double-digit percentage growth in revenues and profits.

$1 = 0.8387 euros Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdynia; Editing by Mark Potter