February 27, 2013 / 10:21 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-J.Martins to seek more growth abroad after profit miss

* Net profit up 5 pct to 89 mln euros, forecast was 115 mln

* EBITDA rose 8 pct to 210 mln euros, also below forecast

* 2012 sales grew 10.5 pct, more double-digit growth seen (Adds stock price, comment, quotes)

LISBON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins said it would further focus on foreign markets for growth after a disappointing 5 percent rise in quarterly profit sent shares lower.

Portugal is taking painful austerity measures to slash its budget deficit under a 78-billion euro EU/IMF bailout plan that has hammered consumer demand.

Shares in Jeronimo Martins, Portugal's No. 2 retailer and Poland's largest food retail firm via its Biedronka discount chain, slumped about 4 percent to 15.45 euros in early trading, weighing on the broader market in Lisbon, down 0.4 percent.

"It's a negative set of results ... driven by a worse operating performance, higher taxes and an 8 million one-off in restructuring costs and impairments in the manufacturing and Portuguese division," BPI bank analysts wrote.

Net profit in the quarter rose to 89 million euros ($116.35 million), below an average forecast of 115 million euros in a Reuters poll of eight analysts.

The group said it expected a double-digit rise in 2013 sales, however, with its Polish performance offsetting a recession at home and as it concentrates on growth in a new market - Colombia.

Jeronimo Martins said total sales rose nearly 16 percent in the quarter from a year ago to 2.92 billion euros, and were up 10.5 percent in 2012 as a whole.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose 8 percent in the quarter to 210 million euros, compared with an average analyst forecast of 222 million euros.

It said it hoped to "grow above the market" in Poland, while in Portugal the company signalled it would continue with the discount campaigns at its main Pingo Doce supermarket chain that helped it increase market share last year.

"The company's market share responded positively to the new price positioning and sales grew by 2.4 percent in the year that the retail food market declined by 1.6 percent," it said.

"We therefore expect that 2013 will be a good year of growth for the Group, revitalised by the experience of entering a new market and getting to know a new consumer," the company said, referring to opening shops in Colombia.

$1 = 0.7649 euros Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford

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