January 31, 2008 / 4:26 PM / 10 years ago

Richelieu profit, sales notch higher

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Richelieu Hardware RCH.TO posted a 11.5 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday as increased sales and acquisitions helped lift results for the distributor of specialty hardware.

The company, which also produces kitchen cabinets and doors, said earnings rose to C$10.2 million, or 44 Canadian cents a share, from C$9.2 million, or 39 Canadian cents a share, in the same period last year.

Analysts had expected a profit of 43 Canadian cents per share, on average, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 9 percent in the seasonally-strong quarter to C$113.4 million.

Richelieu said its profit margin dipped 0.5 percent to 14.4 percent from the same period last year, reflecting investments it made in retailers’ hardware programs. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 5.3 percent to C$16.3 million.

The company said it will benefit in 2008 from the business deals it struck with renovation chains in 2007. It also sees gains from an expanded retail market, with new hardware and renovation superstores expected to open in Canada in 2008.

“As we do every year, we will remain on the lookout for any good acquisition opportunity in North America that matches our criteria of profitability and growth over the long term,” Chief Executive Richard Lord said in a statement.

Shares were up nearly 4 percent, or 75 Canadian cents, at C$21.00 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.

($1=$1.00 Canadian)

Reporting by Susan Taylor; Editing by Peter Galloway

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