Autogrill H1 net profit down 64 pct on weak food unit

MILAN, July 31 Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:00am EDT

MILAN, July 31 (Reuters) - The world's biggest airport retailer Autogrill on Wednesday reported a 64 percent drop in first-half net profit, hit by a softer performance at its food and beverages business and higher taxes.

The operator of highway restaurants and airport shops from Canada to India said net profit for the six months ended June fell to 4.3 million euros ($5.70 million) from 11.9 million.

The group, which is in the process of splitting its travel retail and duty free unit from its roadside restaurant chain, said revenues for the Food & Beverages unit fell to 1.84 billion euros from 1.86 billion, while those for the Travel Retail & Duty Free unit increased 3.8 percent to 922.9 million euros.

Autogrill, which is controlled by Italy's Benetton family, gave a separate outlook for the individual units for the full year. Food & Beverages is expected to report revenues of 4.05 billion euros and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of between 315-325 million euros.

The Travel Retail & Duty Free unit in turn is expected to post 2013 revenues of 2.05 billion euros and a unit EBITDA of between 250-260 million euros.

Shares in the group were down 1.06 percent at 11.18 euros at 1047 GMT, compared with a 0.41 percent drop in Italy's blue-chip FTSE MIB index.

($1 = 0.7547 euros) (Reporting by Agnieszka Flak; editing by Francesca Landini)