Mar 30, 2009
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Italian luxury EBITDA seen down 21 pct in 2009

Mar 30, 2009

MILAN, March 30 (Reuters) - The Italian luxury goods sector expects a 21 percent drop in EBITDA this year as the global crisis cuts into sales, fashion industry foundation Altagamma said on Monday March 30.

The biggest drop is expected in the Americas, where the United States makes up 90 percent of the market, with a forecast downturn of 14.8 percent, Altagamma said in a survey of its members.

The first half of the year is expected to be worse for EBITDA -- earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation -- than the second, it said.

"The forecast reduction in EBITDA represents the price paid by companies for this critical situation," Altagamma said.

Altagamma Chairman Leonardo Ferragamo told a news conference to present the survey results that near-term forecasts are "structurally unforeseeable".

Altagamma's members include such luxury goods names as jeweller Bulgari SpA (BULG.MI), furniture maker Poltrona Frau SpA (PFGI.MI) and shoe and bag maker Tod's SpA (TOD.MI).

By sector, the biggest downturn was forecast for tableware, with a drop in EBITDA of 15.4 percent.

Bulgari posted a 45 percent drop in 2008 net profit this month. Tod's left its dividend unchanged after a nearly 8 percent rise in net profit but warned it was hard to give guidance for 2009.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by David Cowell)

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