Metro Inc profit rises, dividend up

Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:12pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian grocer Metro Inc MRUa.TO raised its dividend and reported a higher quarterly profit and sales on Tuesday.

Results at Canada's third-largest grocery chain were helped by its purchase of a majority stake in Montreal-area ethnic food retailer Marché Adonis and Marché Adonis's distributor, Phoenicia.

Sales at Adonis and Phoenicia, in which Metro has a 55 percent stake, were included for eight weeks of the quarter.

The company declared a quarterly dividend of 21.5 Canadian cents a share, up from 19.25 Canadian cents.

Net earnings for the Metro's financial first quarter, ended December 17, 2011, were C$103.7 million ($103.4 million), or C$1.01 a share, up from C$95.5 million, or 91 Canadian cents, in the year-before quarter.

Sales rose 3.4 percent to C$2.71 billion. Sales at established stores, a key measure for retailers, were 1.7 percent higher.

Metro's Class A shares were up 1.5 percent at C$53.97 on Tuesday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

(Reporting by Allison Martell; Editing by Peter Galloway)