MILAN Italy's Luxottica Group SpA (LUX.MI), the world's biggest premium eyewear maker, has agreed to buy French luxury eyewear designer Alain Mikli as it seeks acquisitions to boost growth.
Luxottica said it had entered an exclusivity agreement with the company and its co-owner, London-based investment firm NEO Capital. "It's a brand that gives us image and profitability in the long term," Chief Executive Andrea Guerra told Reuters in a phone interview.
No financial details were given. "There's a process, a formality that normally lasts a couple of weeks," Guerra said.
In 2011 Alain Mikli posted net sales of about 60 million euros ($77.6 million).
According to analysts, deals of this kind, where a brand is bought, value the companies at up to 1.5 times sales, implying a price of around 90 million euros.
Guerra confirmed recent comments that the group was studying several possible acquisitions, one of which was of domestic eyewear retailer Salmoiraghi & Vigano.
Luxottica, which makes Ray-Bans as well as sunglasses for luxury brands such as Prada (1913.HK) and Gucci GUCG.PK, has said it expects profits to grow twice as fast as sales this year. It expects sales to rise by a high single-digit percentage.
In 2011 it posted net sales of more than 6.2 billion euros. Analysts are forecasting revenue of more than 7 billion euros in 2012.
Luxottica shares were little changed at 29.87 euros at 1200 GMT. ($1 = 0.7730 euros)
(The story corrects reference to Gucci in paragraph 7)
(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by David Goodman)