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Sales at Italy's Moncler grow in Q4, cautious on outlook due to coronavirus

MILAN, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Sales at Italy's luxury outwear maker Moncler grew by 13% at constant exchange rate in the key last quarter of 2019, slightly above market expectations, as strong demand in mainland China and other regions offset an ongoing decline in Hong Kong.

However, the outbreak of the coronavirus in China that worsened in early 2020 is having "a significant impact on footfall and revenues in all shopping malls in China where Moncler is present and on Chinese tourism around the world," the company said on Monday.

"It is not possible to forecast the duration of this situation and its impacts on full year results," it added.

The 13% increase at constant exchange rates in the fourth quarter compared with growth of 10% in the previous quarter.

For the full year, revenues rose by 13% to 1.628 billion euros ($1.78 billion), while retail comparable-store sales rose by 7%, down from the dizzying 18% growth posted in 2018.

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased to 575 million euros, or 35.3% of revenues, from 500.2 million euros in 2018.

Consensus estimates provided by the company had forecast sales of 1.618 billion euros and EBITDA of 563 million euros.

Sales in Asia and rest of the world area, the brand's top market which account for over 40% of total revenues, grew 13% in the year. The group posted a double digit increase in revenues in all other regions, including Italy.

Moncler said it would pay a dividend of 0.55 euros, compared to 0.40 euros last year and with 0.44 euros expected by analysts according to a Refinitiv poll.

($1 = 0.9163 euros) (Reporting by Claudia Cristoferi, editing by Silvia Aloisi)