UPDATE 1-Canada's Jean Coutu narrowly tops estimates

Tue Jul 7, 2009 12:37pm BST

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*EPS C$0.16 vs consensus C$0.15

*Revenue rises 7.8 percent to C$619.3 mln (Adds details)

TORONTO, July 7 (Reuters) - Canadian pharmacy chain Jean Coutu (PJCa.TO) reported a first-quarter profit on Tuesday that narrowly topped estimates despite the poor performance of 30-percent-owned Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N) in the United States.

The Montreal-based chain said it earned C$10.3 million, or 4 Canadian cents a share, for the quarter that ended May 30, compared with a loss of C$20.2 million, or 8 Canadian cents a share for the same time last year.

The company boasts some 358 stores in Canada -- in Quebec, New Brunswick and Ontario.

Earnings before specific items and the share of loss in Rite Aid was C$38.5 million, or 16 Canadian cents per share.

Revenue rose 7.8 percent to C$619.3 million.

Analysts were expecting an average profit of 15 Canadian cents a share before items and revenue of C$606.9 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Jean Coutu said its share of net losses at Rite Aid, the No. 3 U.S. drugstore chain, was C$30.9 million, or 13 Canadian cents, compared with C$53.4 million, or 21 Canadian cents per share, for the same time a year earlier.

Last month, Rite Aid narrowed its loss to $98.4 million, or 11 cents per share, in the first quarter that ended May 30, from $156.6 million, or 20 cents per share, a year earlier. ($1=$1.16 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson, editing by Maureen Bavdek)

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