Casino said growth in Brazil, where it owns Pao de Acucar chain, was "very strong"

Casino said growth in Brazil, where it owns Pao de Acucar chain, was "very strong"

French retailer Casino today (18 February) reported a near-10% rise in underlying annual profits and expressed "confidence" in its growth prospects for 2014, helping its shares to recover recent lost ground.

The owner of France's Monoprix, Brazil's Pao de Acucar and Thailand's Big C booked a 9.7% increase in underlying net profit to EUR618m (US$848.5m) for 2013.

Casino's bottom line was helped by lower financial costs and a reduction in its tax rate.

However, the retailer's trading profit was up 18.1% at EUR2.363bn as its businesses in Latin America and Asia boosted its top line. Annual sales were up 15.9% at EUR48.6bn.

Sales in France were up 5.7% at EUR19.45bn, helped by a full contribution from convenience chain Monoprix. Casino took full control of Monoprix after buying out venture partner Galeries Lafayette for EUR1.18bn. However, on an organic basis, domestic sales, excluding fuel were down 3.6%.

Nonetheless, Casino said it was seeing improvement from its banners in France. Chairman and CEO Jean-Charles Naouri expressed an upbeat tone about Casino's prospects in 2014.

"The group's banners improved their positions in France and internationally. In 2014, the continued implementation of the strategy focusing on buoyant countries and formats, in combination with disciplined group management, gives us confidence in our prospects for growth and profitability," Naouri said.

Shares in Casino, which have fallen 2.7% so far in 2014, were up 4.14% at EUR81.58 at 14:10 CET.

Click here for just-food's On the money analysis of Casino's 2013 results.