October 2, 2008 / 4:32 PM / 10 years ago

Richelieu Hardware profit rises as expenses drop

OTTAWA, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Richelieu Hardware Ltd (RCH.TO) reported a 5.8 percent rise in quarterly profit on Thursday as higher margins and lower interest and income tax expenses offset tough economic conditions and the effects of a stronger Canadian dollar.

The company, which imports and distributes specialty hardware and produces kitchen cabinets and doors, said it earned C$9.6 million ($8.88 million), or 42 Canadian cents a share, in its third quarter, compared with a profit of C$9.1 million, or 39 Canadian cents a share, in the year-before period.

It was its 51st consecutive quarter of net earnings growth on a year-on-year basis, the Montreal-based company said.

Revenue was down slightly at C$111.8 million from C$111.9 million. Sales to manufacturers declined 2.8 percent, but sales to hardware retailers and renovation stores rose 14.6 percent.

Sales in the United States, battered by a credit crunch and housing market downturn, fell 2.8 percent on a U.S. dollar basis and 5.8 percent after conversion to Canadian currency. Sales in Canada were up 1.2 percent.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was up 1.9 percent at C$15.8 million. The EBITDA margin rose to 14.1 percent from 13.9 percent, while the net profit margin grew to 8.6 percent from 8.1 percent

Richelieu Hardware shares were down 2 Canadian cents at C$20.31 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at mid-session on Thursday. The stock been hammered in the last 12 months, losing about 17 percent of its value. ($1=$1.08 Canadian) (Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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