Canadian grocery retailer Metro Inc has said net earnings rose 11.1% in the fourth quarter, boosted by the company's acquisition of A&P Canada.

The company reported net earnings of C$50.2m (US$42.0m), or 48 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2005, compared to $45.2m, or 47 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Without the acquisition of A&P Canada, fourth quarter 2005 net earnings would have grown by 6.2%.

Sales grew 39.3% in the fourth quarter to $1.96bn. The quarter included six weeks of A&P Canada operations. Excluding the increase in sales resulting from the acquisition of A&P Canada, sales would have grown 2.1% in the fourth quarter. Same-store sales were up 3% for the fourth quarter.

"With the acquisition of A&P Canada in the fourth quarter, Metro Inc took a major step in its expansion plan. It becomes the second leading food retailer in Canada's two largest markets. Six weeks of results have been recorded during the quarter since the acquisition, and the integration process has begun. In the coming months, we will continue to deploy all our efforts in order to maximise the business potential of this acquisition, and realise over the next two years $60m in synergies as expected," the company said.