MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Giant Mexican beverage and retail company FEMSA (FMSAUBD.MX) (FMX.N) said on Friday quarterly profit climbed, boosted by higher sales at its expanding network of convenience stores and its stake in Dutch beer company Heineken.
The Monterrey-based company reported a fourth-quarter profit of 4.94 billion pesos ($401 million), up 21 percent from the year-earlier quarter, and said in a statement it is seeking to raise its dividend by more than 75 percent.
FEMSA’s chain of Oxxo convenience stores, which grew with the opening of 415 stores in the quarter, reported revenue jumped 19 percent to 16.7 billion pesos. FEMSA ended the year with 8,426 Oxxo stores across Latin America.
Same-store sales — sales at stores open more than a year — jumped 7.9 percent in the quarter as they attracted more customers and customers spent more on average per purchase, FEMSA said.
The company also benefited from its 20 percent stake in Dutch beer company Heineken (HEIN.AS), which reported results that beat full-year earnings forecasts earlier this month.
FEMSA sold its beer unit to Heineken in April in exchange for the stake.
Chief Executive Jose Antonio Fernandez said the company is optimistic given that there seems to have been a gradual improvement in consumer confidence, as reflected in results from Oxxo.
FEMSA said in a statement it is proposing to raise the amount allotted for its dividend to 4.6 billion pesos this year, subject to approval at its annual shareholders’ meeting in March.
The company operates the Oxxo convenience stores chain and controls Coca-Cola FEMSA (KOFL.MX), the biggest Coke bottler in the world.
The bottling affiliate reported a higher fourth-quarter profit earlier this week, even as it posted lower revenue that it attributed to the devaluation of the Venezuelan bolivar.
Consolidated revenues at FEMSA climbed almost 4 percent to 45.66 billion pesos. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased almost 9 percent to 8.72 billion pesos.
($1 =12.31 pesos at end Dec)
Reporting by Elinor Comlay, editing by Gerald E. McCormick