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MEXICO CITY, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Grupo Bimbo, the world’s No. 3 breadmaker, reported on Thursday a 31 percent increase in its fourth-quarter profits due to price increases and higher sales volumes.
Bimbo BIMBOA.MX earned 1.27 billion pesos ($92 million) in the quarter as revenues rose 15.1 percent to 22.2 billion pesos. Margins fell, however, on higher raw material costs and due to the fall of various currencies against the U.S. dollar in the quarter.
The company, which began as a small family firm 60 years ago, is a major player in Latin America and the United States. It also has a small operation in China.
The fourth quarter results do not include any contribution from the purchase of the U.S. breadmaking operations of Canada’s George Weston Ltd, which did not close until January.
Bimbo’s $2.505 billion purchase of Weston’s U.S. operations attracted criticism from credit rating agencies but is expected to boost volumes in the United States.
Quarterly net sales rose 15.1 percent to 22.2 billion pesos.
Bimbo shares rose 0.37 percent in Mexico City to close at 40.21 pesos prior to the release of the company’s earnings report.
$1=13.815 at end-Dec Reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz; editing by Carol Bishopric