Luxottica raises dividend on emerging market boost

MILAN - Luxottica raised its cash dividend and said it expected sales of its fashion sunglasses to grow double-digit this year as it expands its retail presence in Latin America and Asia.

The maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses said on Thursday it would continue to invest in retail chains this year to cater to a growing middle-class in emerging markets.

Following its policy of raising dividends, the group's board proposed to pay shareholders a dividend of 0.58 euro per share for 2012, up 18 percent.

The maker of eyewear for luxury brands such as Prada and Giorgio Armani confirmed the resilience of top luxury goods makers to a deep recession in southern Europe when it posted a 19.3 percent rise in fourth-quarter adjusted net profit to 87 million euros ($114 million).

The result was broadly in line with an average forecast of 88 million euros by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Luxottica, which competes in Italy with smaller rivals Safilo and Marcolin, in January reported 2012 sales of over 7 billion euros, up nearly 14 percent at current exchange rates.

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