Italy, luxury car interiors boost Poltrona Frau's 2013 sales

MILAN, March 13 Thu Mar 13, 2014 9:52am EDT

MILAN, March 13 (Reuters) - Italian high-end furniture firm Poltrona Frau said on Thursday sales rose 10.5 percent last year, boosted by steep gains in Italy and from its "Luxury in Motion" division, which fits out yachts, cars and planes with leather interiors.

Poltrona Frau, which reached a buyout agreement with U.S. office furnisher Haworth in February, said full-year revenue was 272.85 million euros ($379 million).

The company best known for its deep leather armchairs agreed to the takeover partly to speed up its growth in foreign markets, its chief executive said at the time.

Italy, where consumer spending remains strained as the economy struggles to emerge from recession, continued to be the group's biggest market last year, growing by 20 percent and accounting for around 40 percent of sales.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa, which returned 38 percent of sales, grew by more than 11 percent, boosted by demand for the Cassina brand which has partnered with designers including Karl Lagerfeld.

Poltrona Frau said it boosted net profit to 4.5 million euros from roughly 1.1 million euros in the previous year, and reduced net debt by 10 million euros to 69.3 million euros.

Chief Executive Dario Rinero had pinpointed North America as an area of focus for the group, but sales in the Americas overall, currently the group's smallest market, fell 21.6 percent in 2013.

The "Luxury in Motion" division, which counts outgoing major shareholder Luca di Montezemolo's Ferrari and Volkswagen as partners, was the fastest-growing segment of the business, rising more than 30 percent.

Shares in Poltrona Frau barely reacted to the results, and by 1348 GMT were flat at 2.94 euros, just below Haworth's 2.96 euro offer price. The Italian all-share index was 0.7 percent higher on the day. ($1 = 0.7192 euros) (Reporting by Isla Binnie; editing by Keiron Henderson)

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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