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Spain's Inditex Says Fiscal 2006 Profit Rose 25%

Spain's Inditex on Wednesday said fiscal 2006 net profit rose 25% as it continued its rapid international expansion while reining in costs.

Europe's largest fashion retailer by sales said net profit for the 12 months to Jan. 31 jumped to 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion) from 803 million euros a year earlier. Inditex, which owns the Zara boutique chain, posted a 22% increase in sales to 8.20 billion euros ($10.9 billion).

Sales at stores open at least two years rose 5.5%.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, rose 23% to 1.79 billion euros ($2.38 billion).

Inditex plans to invest between 850 million euros ($1.13 billion) and 950 million euros ($1.27 billion) in the business in 2007, mostly on expansion. The company wants to open between 440 and 520 new stores this year.

Inditex raised its dividend 25% to 0.84 euros ($1.12) a share.

The stock gained 0.8% to 45.89 euros ($61.02) in Madrid. The shares have gained around 12% since the start of the year.

Inditex runs more than 3,000 clothing stores in 64 countries.

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