Auchan net profit rose 6.7% in 2010

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French supermarket giant Auchan said Tuesday its net income rose 6.7 percent to 705 million euros ($988 million) last year as it profited from inroads made in Central Europe and Asia.

Revenue was up 7.1 percent to 42.5 billion euros, boosted by favorable foreign exchange rates and rising oil prices, the group said in a statement. Excluding those factors, sales rose 4.9 percent.

"Though not exceptional, 2010 was quite a reasonable year when we take into account the economic environment," chief financial officer Xavier de Mezerac told reporters at the group's headquarters in northern France.

Sales were pulled up by emerging economies in central Europe and Asia, particularly China and Russia. The group opened 44 hypermarkets of which 30 were in Asia, where the number of stores crossed the 200 mark.

For the current year, the group said continued weak growth in the eurozone is expected to be offset by stronger growth in Russia and China.

In December, the family-owned Auchan and its Taiwanese partner Ruentex said they plan to list shares in their Chinese shops on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

© 2011 AFP

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