Carrefour lifts profit but shares drop
International supermarket group Carrefour achieved a sharp profit increase in the first half of the year, it reported on Thursday but the company's shares fell sharply.
Net profit rose 16.7 percent to 274 million euros ($367 million) and the current operating profit rose by 7.9 percent to 833 million euros.
This was achieved on a 1.7-percent fall in sales to 40.3 billion euros.
Carrefour said that activity had been particularly encouraging in France despite deflationary pressures and price-cutting in the supermarket sector.
Activity in Belgium and Spain had risen, but did less well in Italy.
Business in Latin America was undermined by unfavourable exchange rates, and in Asia operating profit had fallen by 15.2 percent to 83 million euros mainly because of "frugal consumption" in China, the group said.
The price of shares in the group was down 4.41 percent to 25.93 euros in morning trading. The overall French market was down by 0.64 percent.
In common with many French companies, Carrefour blamed much of the sluggish overall headline sales figure on unfavourable exchange rates.
If this factor were flattened out, sales rose by 4.9 percent which it said represented the best figure for internal growth for five years.
"In the first half, Carrefour achieved a very good performance. Both its results and profitability progressed," finance director Pierre-Jean Sivignon told a telephone press conference.
The group did not provide guidance for the year, although earlier this month it said that analysts' overall expectation of an operating profit of 2.38 billion euros for the year was "reasonable".
© 2014 AFP