MOSCOW, March 6 Russia's second-biggest food
retailer X5 posted a forecast-beating fourth-quarter
net profit on Thursday, having suffered a heavy loss in the same
period of 2012.
The company was overtaken as Russian market leader by Magnit
last year, hit by operational and management
issues after a strategy shift in 2011, but recovered to a $136
million profit in the three months to Dec. 31.
That compared with an impairments-affected loss of $273.8
million a year earlier and beat the consensus forecast for net
profit of $85.8 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Full-year 2013 revenues stood at $16.8 billion, against
Magnit's $18.2 billion.
The turnaround of X5, part of billionaire Mikhail Fridman's
Alfa Group, has been complicated by increased competition and
faltering consumer sentiment in the face of Russia's economic
slowdown last year.
Its core profit margin was slightly ahead of analysts'
expectations at 7.5 percent. The company has forecast 2014
revenue growth in a 10-12 percent range with a margin between
6.8 and 7.2 percent.
Magnit has said it expects sales to rise by 22-24 percent
X5 had more than 4,500 stores in Russia at the end of 2013.
It also has nine supermarkets in Kiev, one of which is under
construction, and three stores in the city's suburbs. The
company did not comment in its earnings release about the impact
of the situation in Ukraine.