France's Casino profits fall
French supermarket and retail group Casino reported Tuesday a 7.0 percent drop in 2010 net profit to 500 million euros ($690 million) but targeted 10 percent sales growth for the next three years.
Sales rose 8.7 percent in 2010 to 29.1 billion euros, and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were up 5.6 percent to 1.95 billion euros.
Operating profit rose 7.5 percent to 1.3 billion euros, with a drop of 4.1 percent in France and a gain of 30.2 percent internationally, which was marginally higher than analyst forecasts compiled by Dow Jones Newswires.
"We have met our objectives in terms of both sales momentum in France and faster profitable growth in international markets," Groupe Casino chairman and chief executive officer Jean-Charles Naouri said.
The company's management will propose a dividend of 2.78 euros per share, an increase of 4.9 percent from last year.
Casino's shares were off 0.10 percent to 70.91 euros at 1545 GMT.
The company's management targeted sales growth of 10 percent for the next three years and 700 million euros in asset disposals.
Casino operates nearly 11,000 stores worldwide, of which 9,364 are in France, employing 200,000 people. At the international level the company has focused on high-growth areas primarily in South America and Southeast Asia.
Naouri said that thanks to acquisitions of Casas Bahia shops in Brazil and the stores of its French-rival Carrefour in Thailand that sales outside of France will account for 45 percent in 2011, against 25 percent in 2005.
Half of Casino's revenues will be generated outside France very soon, he added.
© 2011 AFP