Italian company Valentino Fashion Group has lifted its half-year profit by 18.3% to EUR41.4m (US$57.5m).

Valentino's net consolidated sales were EUR1.02bn in the first half of 2007, up by 11% on EUR925.7m in 2006 first half.

By brand, Hugo Boss comparable sales were up 14%, Valentino's 12%, while Marlboro Classics were up 13%.

The company anticipates full-year growth in sales of around 10%, due to a backlog of autumn/winter orders backlog and an increase in direct retail.

On Monday Permira, the private equity group acquiring Valentino, had reportedly got control of 97% of the Italian fashion firm through a tender bid. Valentino made no comment on the reports in today's (12 September) statement.