Italian SOL has reported healthy third quarter results with excellent growth in sales abroad.

The group announced consolidated sales of €292.2m, gross operating margin of €66.5m, consolidated net profits of €13m and cash flow of €44.7m.

According to SOL, the positive sales growth came from strong development in sales from abroad (+17.6%) and Italy (+10.7%). In both cases the growth was supported by the company\\$quot;s technical gases and home-care businesses.

In financial terms, operating cash flow is €44.7m (€42.2m in the same period of 2005), the total net debt is €101.8m, increased by €11.1m compared to 2005, due to the investments made in the first nine months for €36.7m and to the increase of working capital.

There are no subsequent relevant events after 30th September 2006.

\\$quot;We consider the results achieved in these first nine months of 2006 positive,\\$quot; affirmed Marco Annoni, vice-president of SOL. \\$quot;The results show a significant growth and good profitability, despite the continuous increase, specially in Italy, of the energy and transport costs, the most important costs of our activity.

\\$quot;It is a significant signal that confirms our choices about production plant strengthening, product and service range enlargement, internationalization and diversification in home-care business.\\$quot;

"In the year 2006," concluded SOL chairman Aldo Fumagalli Romario, "we expect to consolidate the increasing trend of turnover and to maintain the profitability of the group."