Luxottica pares profit guidance, pours cold water on tie-up talk

MILAN, March 1 (Reuters) - Luxottica, the world’s largest eyewear maker, trimmed its profit guidance for the next three years as it bumped up spending to bolster retail and online business while ruling out tie-ups with rivals Essilor and Carl Zeiss.

Luxottica, controlled by its founder Leonardo Del Vecchio, said it expected its profits to 2018 to grow at 1.5 times sales growth, down from a long-standing “rule of thumb” guidance of two times.

The company, which plans to spend more than 1.5 billion to 2018, said clean operating profit last year rose 22.5 percent to 1.4 billion euros.

The maker of Ray Ban and Oakley sunglasses also said Francesco Milleri, a long-time associate of the Del Vecchio family, had been appointed to the board “tasked with assisting the Executive Chairman in carrying out the various functions associated with his current role.”

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes and Claudia Cristoferi