EssilorLuxottica quarterly sales recover as second virus wave looms

(Reuters) - EssilorLuxottica ESLX.PA said on Tuesday its third-quarter sales showed signs of recovery, but the maker of Oakley and Ray-Ban eyes the next few months with 'prudent confidence' as a second coronavirus wave threatens another heavy blow to results.

FILE PHOTO: Sunglasses from Ray Ban, a Luxottica owned brand, are on display at an optician shop in Hanau, Germany, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

The company also said it would, in December, consider whether to pay a dividend by year-end, having suspended it in March along with scrapping its guidance for the year.

Sales in the quarter ended Sept. 30 fell 1.1% at constant currencies from a year earlier to 4.09 billion euros ($4.77 billion), recovering some ground after almost halving in the second quarter as lockdowns eased and stores reopened.

The company said more than 95% of its stores had reopened globally by the end of September.

EssilorLuxottica said in a statement that it was “confident about the structural resilience of optical needs” although “cautious about the near-term evolution of COVID-19 and about the amount of pent-up demand potentially fuelling the current recovery”.

The company, formed as a merger between French lens manufacturer Essilor and Italian spectacles maker Luxottica, confirmed its target of net synergies, or cost efficiencies, from the merger of 420 million euros to 600 million euros for adjusted operating profit by 2023.

EssilorLuxottica, which makes eyewear for luxury brands such as Chanel, Prada and Versace, added revenue synergies had been somewhat delayed by temporary store closures but were gradually catching up.

Dutch Opticians group GrandVision GVNV.AS, for which the company has made a 7.2 billion euro bid, said in October it had returned to revenue growth in the third quarter but did not provide an outlook for the fourth quarter and 2021.

EssilorLuxottica said in September it would appeal against a Dutch court’s verdict that had rejected its contention that GrandVision had breached a deal agreement during the pandemic.

GrandVision has said it is supporting EssilorLuxottica in obtaining the remaining regulatory approvals, which are not affected by the appeal, for the planned takeover.

Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Krishna Chandra Eluri and Kirsten Donovan