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Sonae's profits jump 6.4% last year to 357 million

Sonae Campus in Maia

Food retailer Sonae, owner of Continente supermarket chain, said that its 2023 profit totalled €357 million, up 6.4% year-on-year.

In a statement sent to the Portuguese Securities Market Commission (CMVM), the company led by Cláudia Azevedo said that it has achieved this positive result "despite the impact of increased financing costs and taxes, as well as the depreciation due to investment in the expansion and digitalisation of the business."

The company will propose the payment of a dividend of 5.639 cents per share to shareholders at the general meeting, a 5%  increase compared to 2022.

Meanwhile, turnover grew by 9.2% to over 8.4 billion euros, driven "mainly" by the "growth of MC (food retailer business) which, in the face of the challenging and competitive inflationary context, managed to strengthen its leadership position in the Portuguese food retail market", according to the statement.

Its EBITDA - earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation - increased by 7.2% to 990 million euros, with the margin rising by 0.2 percentage points, "despite the reduction in results using the equity method, resulting from the portfolio management activity, which was more than offset by the improvement in underlying EBITDA," the retailer stresses.

Sonae also reported a reduction in net debt last year. It closed 2023 with a debt of 526 million euros, compared to 982 in the previous quarter and 540 at the end of 2022. "A historically low record, and a net cash position in the holding company of 69 million," the company told the market.

In her usual message, Cláudia Azevedo highlights the fact that the "historically low level of indebtedness" has resulted in "a loan-to-value of the holding of just 0.6%, a very solid financial position that allows us to face our aspirations with confidence".

Sonae operates in 90 countries and it is the largest private employer in Portugal, with a total of 48,222 employees.

Besides Continente, Sonae also holds Meu Super and Go Natural food retailers, Worten electronics retailer, Dr Wells health, wellness and beauty retailers, Salsa Jeans, Mo and Zippy fashion brands, Note! stationary retailers, newspaper Público, among many other businesses.

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