Shoemaker Geox slashes dividend on Italy slowdown

MILAN, March 6 Wed Mar 6, 2013 11:45am EST

MILAN, March 6 (Reuters) - Italian upmarket shoemaker Geox cut its dividend for 2012 and said it expected sales in the first half of 2013 to fall in line with last year as shoppers rein in spending in its recession-hit domestic market.

The maker of "breathable" shoes, which sells over a third of its products in Italy, said on Wednesday global revenues fell 9.9 percent to 807.6 million euros ($1.05 billion) in 2012.

That compares with an average forecast of 821 million euros by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Geox paid a dividend of 0.16 euro per share on 2011 results.

Mediobanca Securities had expected a dividend payout at 0.05 euros on 2012 profits.

"Management believes that it will have to take a very prudent look at sales and is expecting to see a high-single digit decrease in sales in the first half of 2013," the group said in the results statement.

Geox appointed a new chief executive in September to accelerate its retail expansion in high-growth Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe. ($1 = 0.7677 euros) (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio, editing by Stephen Jewkes)