Italian gas producer SOL has announced consolidated sales of €393.6m ($528m) in the last twelve months, up 13.7 percent on last years sales of €346m ($464m).

Net operating profit and net profit include non recurring charges reached €7m ($9.3m) for the same period. The company has seen good growth in many areas of their business, in particular, the technical gas business where sales hit €282.5m ($379m), up 11.7 percent versus 2005.

The growth of sales has been mainly realized through the increased volume of gases due to the new plants operating in Belgium, Slovenia and Macedonia, the good European economic scenario and the development of new products and new services. However it is still problematic the continuous increase of transport and energy costs.

In the home-care business, sales topped €121.9m ($163.5m) in 2006, up 19.2 percent, confirming the strong increasing trend of the recent years. This has been reached through a combination of constant care for new markets and new services.

$quot;The results achieved in the year 2006 are very positive, showing a record sales growth of €48m ($64m) and good profitability despite the continuous increase of energy costs$quot; said Marco Annoni, Vice-president of SOL S.p.A. $quot;The strengthening of our presence in the foreign markets, which represent more than 34 percent of total turnover of the Group, is the best sign of our capability to compete with efficiency in both activities of our business in the countries where we are present.$quot;