AMSTERDAM, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Ahold Delhaize, the U.S-European food retail giant, on Wednesday reported fractionally better than expected fourth-quarter core earnings on the back of strong performance at its Food Lion and Hannaford grocery chains in the United States.
It forecast 2020 margins “broadly in line” with the year just ended and mid-single-digit growth in underlying earnings per share in 2020.
Underlying operating income was 765 million euros ($834 million) for the three months ended on Dec. 31, 2019, versus 743 million euros in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 5.5% to 17.4 billion euros, helped by a strong dollar.
Analysts polled by Refinitiv had forecast underlying operating income for the fourth quarter of 762 million euros on sales of 17.3 billion euros.
($1 = 0.9171 euros)
Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Tom Hogue