Dec 15 (Reuters) - Food retailer ICA Gruppen said on Thursday it expects to grow faster than the market in Sweden next year with stable margins while it will also increase its investment budget.
* ICA CFO Sven Lindskog says ICA Sweden is growing faster than the market, and believes will continue to do that with stable margins
* In Q3 ICA‘a EBIT margin was 5.4 pct. ICA’s margin target is 4.5 pct
* CFO says ICA can also continue to grow faster than the market in the Baltics, and expects to improve margins
* Says sees growth in Baltic market in 2017 3.0-3.5 percent of which price inflation represents 2.0-2.5 percent
* CFO says also sees improved margins for Apotek Hjartat
* Says in statement will expand its capex budget from SEK 2.5 billion in 2016 to 3.5 billion ($377 million) in 2017
* On top of the previously communicated sale of the Norwegian property portfolio, during the spring of 2017 ICA will sell additional properties to a joint venture, which is expected to generate approximately SEK 800 million
* Says number of new store establishments in 2017 is expected to be slightly lower than in 2016
* ICA Sweden plans to open 10 to 15 new stores in 2017, compared with a total of 17 in 2016.
* Says Rimi Baltic plans to open ten new stores in 2017, compared with a total of 15 in the current year, while Apotek Hjartat plans to open a total of 14 new pharmacies in 2017, compared with 11 this year Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: ($1 = 9.2807 Swedish crowns) (Reporting by Rebecka Roos; Editing by Daniel Dickson and Niklas Pollard)