MILAN, March 13 Italian airport and motorway
restaurant operator Autogrill said sales were starting
to pick up this year as road traffic stabilises and air traffic
rises, after a drop in revenue and profit in 2013.
Autogrill, whose roadside restaurant business was hit hard
by Italy's longest recession in sixty years, on Thursday said
sales at its domestic motorway business rose 0.9 percent in the
first nine weeks of the year, a trend that looks set to
This echoed Italian highway group Atlantia, which
said last week that motorway traffic had begun to stabilise in
January and February, after a 1.6 percent drop across its
Italian network in 2013.
Autogrill, which makes just under one third of its sales in
Italy, said revenue in European countries outside Italy rose 8.5
percent in the first nine weeks of 2014, while its business in
North America and the Pacific area grew 4.9 percent.
Autogrill's shares were up 3.4 percent at 1441 GMT on
Thursday, outperforming Milan's blue-chip index.
Autogrill said it would not pay a dividend on 2013 earnings,
but would invest profits back into the company, which spun off
its smaller but growing World Duty Free unit in
October, and would a focus on increasing Autogrill's North
Its core earnings fell 4.1 percent to 314 million euros
($437 million) in 2013, compared with its own guidance of around
315 million euros and a Thomson Reuters SmartEstimate of 311
Sales fell 2.2 percent to 3.98 billion euros. A rise in
revenue from airports and train stations helped offset a slump
in the motorway business, the company said.