Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
OPERATOR: Good afternoon. This is the Chorus Call Conference operator. Welcome and thank you for joining the IT Holding's first quarter 2007 results conference call. As a reminder, all participants are in listen-only mode. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. [OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS].
At this time I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Giovanni Paese, the Investor Relations Officer of IT Holding Company. Please go ahead, sir.
GIOVANNI PAESE, IRO, IT HOLDING S.P.A.: Good afternoon to everybody, Giovanni Paese speaking, IT Holding. Thank you very much for being here today for the presentation of the first quarter 2007 consolidated results. I am joined in Milan by Massimo Macchi, Vice Chairman and CEO of the Ferre Division, and Alessandro Finizio, CFO.
I would like to run you through the first quarter results. Overall, they are extremely encouraging and start showing the benefits of the investments made in 2006 to both develop our own brands, and consolidate our leadership in the underlying market segment. They also demonstrate, without doubt, that we are not dependant on a single license agreement.
Let's now look at the results in detail, and I ask you to turn to the page six of the presentation available on our website. Excluding D&G, from the first quarter of last year, revenues were up 41.9%. The main contributors to this growth were Accessories division, up 40.2% year on year, despite the exit of D&G, Ferre revenues, up 19.2%, an excellent performance by all our Young Line collections and, to a lesser extent, a shift in deliveries from the fourth quarter of '06 to the first quarter, namely, Galliano.
Our order book for the full winter 2007/2008 is also up 30% on the previous year, excluding D&G. And this allows us to be confident that we will significantly exceed this high [EUR570m] revenues targeted for 2007. It would, however, be misleading to use the first quarter growth rate, 42%, to project the growth rate for the whole year.
Please turn to page seven, profitability. Our EBITDA increased from 20.2% to 22.4% and allowed us to maintain the same EBITDA in absolute terms, despite the overall decrease in revenues. The increase in profitability was partially expected, as margins in the previous year suffered. One, the [weekly] production which caused us to make greater use of [outsourcing] production resulting in lower gross margins. Two, the one-off advertising investment for the Ferre brand and in particular the Julia Roberts campaign.
Other contributors to the improvement in profitability were the increase in revenues of the Accessories and Ferre division, resulting in operating leverage and efficiency obtained in our production and logistics department.
EBIT was up 8.1% in absolute terms [increased] by EUR1.3m, due primarily to a decrease in depreciation amortization, partially due to late expenditure incurred in ICD in 2006.
Net interest expense decreased by EUR1.3m, primarily due to the positive FX effect in the first quarter, other than other financial charges. Conversely, our tax expenses increased, primarily due to higher taxable income. We, therefore, registered an overall bottom line improvement of EUR1.1m.
Net working capital, please turn to page eight. Compared to March 31, 2006 net working capital decreased by EUR35.2m. This …