LISBON, March 12 (Reuters) - Portugal’s largest retailer, Sonae, posted an 11 percent rise in 2014 net profit to 144 million euros ($152 million), in line with expectations, as sales increased and its market share broadened even as price competition eroded profitability.
Sonae, a conglomerate that operates Continente hypermarkets, consumer electronics stores Worten and SportZone outlets of sporting goods, among other brands, said in a statement late on Wednesday its sales rose over 3 percent to 4.97 billion euros.
Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), edged up 0.6 percent to 380 million euros, slightly exceeding the market consensus of 374 million. Underlying EBITDA margin, which measures profitability, slipped to 7.6 percent from 7.8 percent.
The net profit was also helped by asset appreciation at its subsidiary Sonae Sierra, which owns or manages shopping centres in various countries.
The net profit is not comparable with 319 million euros reported by Sonae a year ago as it then had a big one-off gain from a merger between Optimus, the telecom unit of its subsidiary Sonaecom, and ZON, into NOS.
But the company recalculated year-ago earnings excluding that impact, putting the 2013 net profit at 129 million euros.
Sonae said the board will propose to shareholders a dividend payout of 0.0365 euros per share, 5 percent higher than a year ago. ($1 = 0.9488 euros) (Reporting By Andrei Khalip)