CORRECTED-Brazil's Hypermarcas first-quarter profit flat from year ago

viernes 24 de abril de 2015 21:02 GYT

(Corrects last paragraph to make clear EBITDA rose)

RIO DE JANEIRO, April 24 (Reuters) - First-quarter profit at Brazilian consumer goods maker Hypermarcas SA was little changed from a year earlier, as higher sales from more aggressive promotions were offset by higher costs.

Net income at the country's biggest producer of hygiene products and generic drugs rose 0.5 percent to 90.7 million reais ($30.7 million), the company said in a securities filing on Friday. The result was in line with an average forecast of 93 million reais in a Reuters survey of analysts.

With inflation climbing more than 8 percent and the economy slowing toward an expected recession, consumer confidence fell to record lows in early 2015, forcing companies to spend more on marketing and sales campaigns to keep revenue growing.

Revenue for Hypermarcas rose 12.5 percent to 1.21 billion reais as it cut prices in certain segments to win market share. A 26 percent increase in the cost of goods sold, which includes, the cost of materials and labor, and a 17 percent increase in total financial costs eliminated much of the impact of the sales increase.

Financial costs were driven higher by rising Brazilian interest rates. Net financial costs were 24 percent higher in the quarter than in the first quarter of 2014.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a measure of profit earned from operations known as EBITDA, rose 10.8 percent to 286.9 million reais, beating the average forecast of 269 million reais.

($1 = 2.95 Brazilian reais) (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Writing by Jeb Blount and Brad Haynes; Editing by David Gregorio)