* High costs for another qtr in Brazil due to expansion
* Bimbo sees closing on $925 mln Sara Lee deal in summer
MEXICO CITY, April 27 Mexico's Bimbo expects
prices of raw materials, which have hurt results, to ease going
forward and forecast one more quarter of high costs in Brazil
as it expands aggressively in Latin America's biggest economy.
Bimbo (BIMBOA.MX) posted on Tuesday a decline of nearly 6
percent in its net profit for the January-to-March period as
prices for wheat, oils and sugar climbed. Strengthening of the
peso against the dollar also hurt profits.
But Chief Financial Officer Guillermo Quiroz said on
Wednesday things were looking better for the rest of the year.
"Volumes will continue to grow as the pace of economic
recovery picks up and consumer confidence increases. We now
expect raw materials prices to ease," he told analysts on a
conference call to discuss the company's financial results.
Sales of Bimbo's Latin America unit rose nearly 14 percent
in the first quarter, driven by Brazil, Colombia and Chile. It
was the unit that posted the strongest percentage increase,
above its U.S. and Mexico operations.
Brazil, Bimbo's biggest bet in South America, has put some
pressure on the breadmaker's costs as it introduces its
namesake bread brand and snack products to that market.
"We are investing a lot there. The outlook we have is ...
that this high impact on our distribution costs will stay in
place for one more quarter," Quiroz said. "We are expecting to
leave behind cost pressures by the second part of the year."
Quiroz said the closing of the acquisition of Sara Lee's
SLE.N North American fresh bakery was expected to take place
in the early summer.
The U.S. Department of Justice is still reviewing papers
related to the Mexican company's $925 million bid for the Sara
Lee unit that will turn Bimbo into the world's leading bread
"Literally millions of documents were sent to the DOJ, and
all I can say is that we are headed for late June or July,"
The company's shares slipped 0.59 percent to 25.36 pesos in
afternoon trading on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz)