Motorcycle maker Ducati has announced record registrations, revenues, EBITDA and net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2002.

First quarter 2002 revenues were E106.3 million, up 5.7% over the same period in 2001.

Revenues from Ducati motorcycles for the period increased 4.4% to E89.3 million and represented 84.0% of revenues. Motorcycle-related products, including spare parts, technical accessories and apparel, rose 14.6% to E16.8 million over the comparable period in the previous year. Unit sales were down 3.5% worldwide.

Gross margin was 42.8% of revenues versus 39.2% in the period, mainly reflecting production efficiencies and a positive product mix. Sales costs represented 20.0% of sales versus 18.1% in the period last year, mainly due to costs related to tailored promotional activities.

EBITDA was a record E20.1 million, or 18.9% of revenues, versus 18.0% in the period of the previous year. R&D costs for the Moto GP were E1.3 million, equivalent to 1.2% of sales.

Net income improved by 12.0%, posting a record high for the first quarter of E5.5 million versus E4.9 million in the period in 2001. The resulting net income margin for the period was 5.2% of sales up versus the 4.9% in 2001, mainly thanks to operational gains out-weighing GP and higher commercial costs.

Ducati worldwide registrations increased 19% in the three month period driven by strong results in Japan (+32%) in the US (+30%), in the importer network (+30%) and in Italy (+23%).

Ducati's net debt at March 31, 2002 was E132.0 million, increasing versus the E107.6 million at the same date a year earlier, and E112.9 million at December 31, 2001. The company's net debt to total capitalisation ratio was 45.2% at March 31, 2002 versus 42.0% at the same date a year earlier and 42.2% at December 31, 2001. The increase versus year-end 2001 was mainly due to the roll out in Italy of a new commercial credit policy, which is changing from factoring to insurance.

Ducati's annual shareholder meeting on May 7 approved a plan to buy back up to 3.8% of its outstanding share capital which will be used to satisfy stock option plans and give management flexibility to support the company's stock price.