* Cashmere goods maker H1 sales rise 16.5 percent
* Sticks to double-digit growth forecast
(Updates with details, CEO comment, analyst comment)
By Isla Binnie
MILAN, July 18 Italian cashmere specialist
Brunello Cucinelli reiterated its pledge to deliver
double-digit full-year growth on Thursday as it posted a 16.5
percent rise in preliminary first-half revenue.
Sales hit 157.6 million euros ($206.32 million) for the
period, driven by strong growth in the United States and Europe.
Chief executive Brunello Cucinelli forecast double digit
growth in both revenue and profit for the full year, and growth
of one percentage point even in recession-hit Italy, where
first-half sales dropped 1.2 percent.
Shares in Brunello Cucinelli, which works its cashmere
sweaters in a medieval hamlet in the leafy central Italian
region of Umbria, have soared more than 80 percent over the past
year, creating high growth expectations in the market.
"What I expect investors want to see from Brunello is
continuing above average top-line growth, otherwise the multiple
may depress," said Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca.
The luxury goods sector has held up in the face of
constrained consumer spending in Europe and softening growth in
China. French fashion house Hermes, whose market value
is almost 20 times that of Brunello Cucinelli, reported 16
percent second-quarter sales growth on Thursday.
Cucinelli, who listed his firm on Milan's bourse last April,
told Reuters he had no plans to sell new shares.
"For now, honestly, there are no projects, other than to
work all day on the products, which is my passion," Cucinelli
said. Fellow Italian cashmere company Loro Piana, bought by
French conglomerate LVMH last week, was sold with "a
veiled sadness", he said.
($1 = 0.7639 euros)
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; editing by Patrick Graham)