November 8, 2012 / 1:12 PM / 5 years ago

Autogrill says Europe slowdown to erode margins

MILAN, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Italy’s Autogrill, the world’s biggest airport retailer, said it expected margins this year to suffer from negative traffic trends in Europe after it posted net profits above analysts’ expectations in the third quarter.

The operator of highway restaurants and airport shops from Canada to India said on Thursday full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would come in at between 585 million euros ($746.16 million) and 590 million euros in 2012, just below a previous guidance.

Autogrill, which kept its revenue target for 2012 at around 6.1 billion euros, has been resilient to economic headwinds in his core Italian and Spanish markets thanks to a strong presence in the United States, where traffic flows are stable.

The company reported net profits of 90.1 million euros in the three months to the end of September, above an average forecast of 78 million euros by Reuters I/B/E/S/.

However EBITDA were down 1.6 percent at constant exchange rates.

Autogrill said sales in the first 43 weeks of the year were broadly in line with 2011, with airports sales up 2.5 percent and motorways sales down 6.9 percent.

Shares in Autogrill were little moved immediately after results, trading down 1.6 percent at 8.2 euros at 13 GMT in a negative Italy’s blue-chip index. ($1 = 0.7840 euros) (Reporting by Antonella Ciancio; Editing by Lisa Jucca)

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