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UPDATE 1-Cucinelli raises 2021 sales guidance, proposes no dividend

(Adds details, conference call comments)

March 11 (Reuters) - Italian luxury group Brunello Cucinelli raised its sales guidance for the year on expectations that the end of the coronavirus pandemic was near, it said on Thursday.

The company, known for its plush cashmere, expects sales to grow 15-20% this year, up from its previous guidance of 15%, and sees a 9-10% rise in 2022 sales.

“I feel very strongly that in a few months we will be able to return to a normal quality of life,” chairman and founder Brunello Cucinelli said in a conference call.

Good feedback from the press and wholesale customers on Cucinelli’s collections was also behind the guidance upgrade, he said.

The company also confirmed it expects to double turnover in the period 2019-2028 to around 1.1 billion euros.

Cucinelli said it would not distribute a dividend for the second year in a row as its 2020 net result turned to a loss of 32.2 million euros ($38.55 million) from a profit of 53.1 million euros the year before due to the pandemic.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, amortization and depreciation fell to 41.8 million euros from 106.1 million euros a year ago.

The company reported a drop of 10% in full-year revenues in January after a strong rebound led by China in the second half of the year made up partly for the impact of the pandemic.

Following an appeal from Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, the chairman said that it would turn its headquarters park in the medieval hamlet of Solomeo into a vaccination hub serving 500 to 1,000 people per day until August. ($1 = 0.8353 euros) (Reporting by Silvia Recchimuzzi in Gdansk, editing by Maria Pia Quaglia and Sonya Hepinstall)

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