Italian ceramic tile manufacturer, Marazzi Group, closed the 2011 financial year with a consolidated turnover of 832.5 million euros, an increase of approximately 2% compared to 2010. An even stronger performance was achieved in core sales of ceramic tiles growing by 4% (up 5% at constant exchange rates).

In the U.S. -- where Marazzi USA launched in 2011 a new production line in their manufacturing plant in Sunnyvale (near Dallas, TX) for a $25 million investment -- sales increased by 3%. The boost was partly due to the openings of new stores in the Southwest and the flagship store inaugurated in the design district in New York.

Over the last three years, Marazzi USA has invested over $100 million to increase and strengthen its production platform in the U.S. market. In Russia -- where new investments have been completed in the Orel plant and the group's distribution network has passed the 300 points of sale mark (both mono-brand and shop in shop) -- sales of ceramic has increased by 25% in local currency.

Since the second half of 2011, the European ceramic tiles sector has registered a slowdown in consumption vis-à-vis 2010. In Europe, Marazzi experienced divergent trends, depending on the areas. Results in Germany and Eastern Europe were positive, showing continued growth. In the Mediterranean area, sales of ceramic registered an overall decline with the notable exception of Italy, where an increase of 3% was achieved due to the success of new products launched. Marazzi Group posted a sharp rise in operating profits: Ebitda rose to 129.6 million euros, a 10% increase compared to 2010, reaching a 15.6% margin on net sales.

Ebit also rose to 71.6 million euros, with an 8.6% margin on net sales. Net profit reached 20.1 million euros (up 46% over 2010).

As at December 31, 2011, net financial debt was 280.3 million euros, with a debt to equity ratio stable at 0.60 and a debt to Ebitda ratio of 2.2. "Marazzi Group's results have further improved compared to last year, thanks to its international structure and direct presence in several countries," said Maurizio Piglione, Marazzi Group CEO. "This allows us to pick up on consumer trends and the pace of markets more quickly. Even in the general European context, which has become difficult since the second half of the year, we have gained new market share thanks to continued investments in technology, research and development and the launch of new products in line with our clients' needs."