SOL have reported an excellent increase of consolidated sales in Q1 (up 9.9 percent on the same period of 2006) and good performance for their gross operating profit, equal to €24m (23 percent on sales).

$quot;We consider positive the results achieved in the first quarter of 2007,$quot; affirmed Marco Annoni, vice-president of SOL S.p.A., $quot;The results show a significant growth and good profitability, despite the continuous increase of the energy costs.$quot;

The net operating profit of €12m, equal to 11 percent on sales (€11m at 31/03/06) and cash flow of €17.6m (16.7 percent on sales) performed a good increase vs. first quarter 2006, despite the increase of the depreciation costs, due to the considerable investments made in 2006 and in Q1 2007 and the continuous increase of energy costs.

The excellent growth of sales is due to the strong development on sales abroad (up 17.4 percent) and to the good trend of the activity in Italy (up 6.3 percent). In comparison to the 31/03/06, the technical gases business increased the sales by 7.4 percent, while the homecare business, in which the Group operates through VIVISOL, by 16.1 percent.

Mr Annoni continued, $quot;It is a significant signal that confirm our choices about production plant strengthening, product and service range enlargement, internationalization and diversification in the home-care business.$quot;