February 22, 2017 / 6:15 PM / 5 months ago

J.Martins Q4 profit up less then expected, profitability improves

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LISBON, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins posted on Wednesday a weaker-than-expected 13 percent rise in fourth-quarter net profit after sales rose over 9 percent and the profitability of its key Polish unit improved again.

Meanwhile, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 10.7 percent to 235 million euros, coming in line with market expectations.

The company, which is the largest food retailer in Poland and the second-largest domestically, said on Wednesday it netted 92 million euros in the last quarter of 2016.

Analysts in a Reuters survey had forecast, on average, a quarterly net profit of 107 million euros, expecting a drop in corporate tax payments in the quarter. But the company said it paid 30 percent more tax than a year ago.

"We are prepared for another demanding year and confident in our ability to deliver further growth in 2017," Jeronimo Martins said in a statement.

The EBITDA margin of Jeronimo Martins' Polish unit Biedronka rose to 7.2 percent in 2016 from 7.0 percent a year earlier as same-store sales there rose 9.5 percent. The group's overall like-for-like sales rose 7.2 percent and total EBITDA margin edged higher to 5.9 percent from 5.8 percent. (Reporting By Andrei Khalip)

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