Ducati Motor Holding, the high performance motorcycle maker, has announced a net profit fall for the first nine months of 2002 to two million euros compared with nine million in the prior year period. Ducati previously reported consolidated revenues for the first nine months of 298.9 million euros, up 5.5% from the 283.4 million euros in the first nine months of 2001.

Revenues from Ducati motorcycles for the period increased 2.4% to 242.1 million euros and accounted for 81% of revenues. Motorcycle-related products reached 55.8 million euros, up 20.2% over the same period last year.

For the first nine months of 2002, gross margin was 40.8% versus 41.1% in the previous year, mainly due to a positive product mix effect from related products and production efficiencies which were more than offset by a negative country mix and foreign exchange effects.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) for the first nine months of 2002 was 38.8 million euros and represented 13.0% of sales, down from Euro 48.6 million, or 17.2% of revenues, in the comparable period last year.

This is mostly due to costs related to investments for the development of the Ducati Desmosedici GP motorcycle, the restructuring of the US distribution network, promotional activities such as the biennial World Ducati Week and the negative impact of foreign exchange rates.

"The nine month period has been characterised by the combination of a slower-than-expected recovery of our US operations, an adverse foreign exchange rate effect and a notable contraction of our relevant market -- after a decade of steady growth -- exacerbated by a generally weak macroeconomic environment," said chief financial officer Enrico D'Onofrio.

"We therefore think it prudent to reduce our expectations for the 2002 full year to revenue growth between 2 and 3%, with an EBITDA margin around 14%.”

Ducati's net debt at September 30, 2002 was 100.4 million euros, in line with 101.6 million euros at September 30, 2001, and improved compared with the 113.9 million euro debt at June 30, 2002, mainly thanks to a reduction in working capital.