Greek toy seller Jumbo says tax hikes curb profit growth

ATHENS Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:00am EST

ATHENS Feb 27 (Reuters) - Greece's largest toy seller Jumbo reported a 4 percent rise in net profit for the six-months to December on Thursday and said sales in its newer markets of Bulgaria and Cyprus were strong.

Jumbo, which operates 52 stores in Greece and another 14 in Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania, said net profit rose to 59 million euros ($80.64 million) in its fiscal first half.

But the company said higher taxes curbed profit. Jumbo paid 16 million euros in taxes in the first half, up about 50 percent year-on-year.

Greece, which is kept afloat by EU/IMF loans, raised taxation on corporate profit last year as part of its efforts to boost revenues and meet fiscal targets set by its international lenders.

Jumbo said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 13 percent year-on-year to 85 million euros.

Sales rose 7 percent to 317 million euros during the first half, with sales in Bulgaria up 20 percent year on year and sales in Cyprus up 16 percent. In Greece, where Jumbo has been adding stores despite a six-year recession, sales were up three percent year on year, the company said.

The firm opened its first two shops in Romania and another two in Greece and Cyprus in the July-December period.

Jumbo stuck to its outlook for net profit of between 80 and 85 million euros in the 12 months to June 2014, an annual rise of 8 to 15 percent. ($1 = 0.7317 euros) (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)