Carrefour profits rise

carrefour1International supermarket group Carrefour has recorded a solid rise in operating profit in 2014, but says net profit fell as it invested in improving the shopping centres that host its stores.

The world’s number two supermarket group said operating profit from recurring business rose 6.7 per cent to 2.38 billion euros ($A3.37 billion) while net earnings slipped 1.5 per cent to 1.24 billion.

Sales data, which had been published earlier, showed a dip of 0.3 per cent to 74.7 billion euros, but when stripped of variations including exchange rates, indicated growth of 3.9 per cent.

Exceptional items that weighed upon the bottom line included Carrefour’s contribution to the creation of a property development company that will try to boost the value of the shopping centres in which its supermarkets are located, as well as a discount retail chain in France.

Emerging markets continued to drive gains in operating profits, rising by 14.9 per cent.

Conditions in Europe, which had been difficult in recent years as a result of the eurozone crisis, have improved with France posting a 6.1 per cent in operating profits and a 9.6 per cent gain for the rest of Europe.

“Carrefour turned in a very fine year in 2014 that confirmed that it is on the road to recovery,” said financial director Pierre Jean Sivignon, one of two executives who has been helping CEO Georges Plassat run the company while he recovers from surgery.

Sivignon said it was too early to make any forecasts for 2015, but that the company would continue to keep a tight leash on its finances, although a modest increase in investments was planned.

Management proposed increasing the dividend by four cents to 0.68 euros per share.

Carrefour’s shares shot up 2.5 per cent to 30.39 while the Paris stock exchange’s CAC 40 index was up 0.39 per cent overall.



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