REFILE-UPDATE 1-Jean Coutu profit rises as generic drug sales jump

Wed Apr 30, 2014 8:30am EDT

(Corrects to fix syntax in headline)

* Raises quarterly dividend 10 Canadian cents per share

* Gross Pro Doc sales C$49.1 mln vs C$43.5 mln a year earlier

April 30 (Reuters) - Canadian pharmacy chain Jean Coutu Group Inc reported an 8 percent rise in quarterly profit as sales rose in its high-margin Pro Doc generic drug business.

Jean Coutu has benefited as the company sells its own generic drugs mainly in Quebec and has fewer outlets in Ontario, where sales of private-label generic drugs have been banned to control prescription costs.

Gross sales of Pro Doc drugs rose to C$49.1 million ($44.8 million) in the fourth quarter ended March 1, from C$43.5 million for the quarter ended March 2 a year-earlier.

Jean Coutu has also been adding smaller-sized stores in smaller markets where it has witnessed a rise in prescription drugs sales, helping the company sustain market share amid stiff competition from Target Corp.

The Longueuil, Quebec-based company on Wednesday also raised its quarterly dividend to 10 Canadian cents per share from 8.5 Canadian cents.

Net profit rose to C$57.7 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share, from C$53.5 million, or 25 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 29 Canadian cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total sales rose to C$685.4 million from C$682.7 million.

Jean Coutu's shares closed at C$21.65 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. ($1 = 1.0966 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting By Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian and Sriraj Kalluvila)

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