February 26, 2018 / 4:49 PM / a year ago

Luxottica sees steady growth ahead as merger closing nears

MILAN, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Ray-Ban owner Luxottica said on Monday it expected to close by mid-2018 its proposed merger with lens maker Essilor, while forecasting steady growth in its own sales and profits for the year.

The planned merger to create an industry leader worth 48 billion euros on the market is awaiting regulatory clearance in Europe, the United States and China after receiving a green light on Friday by Brazil’s competition watchdog.

Luxottica said its saw sales growing between 2 and 4 percent this year, net of currency swings, after reporting last month a 2.2 percent rise in sales for 2017 to 9.16 billion euros, in line with expectations.

The group said its adjusted operating profit in 2018 would grow in line with sales or slightly less, while the rise in adjusted net profit could be as much as twice that of sales thanks to lower taxes and interest payments.

Operating profit came in at 1.44 billion euros last year, up 2.7 percent versus 2016 net of currency swings and adjusted for restructuring costs and one-off items.

Adjusted net profit jumped by a larger-than-expected 10 percent to 970 million euros, boosted by a tax relief accord over industrial patents signed with Italian authorities.

Luxottica said it also stands to benefit from the U.S. tax reform. (Reporting by Valentina Za)

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