Slim's Grupo Carso profit falls on cigarette stake sale provision
MEXICO CITY Feb 26 (Reuters) - Billionaire Carlos Slim's conglomerate Grupo Carso said on Wednesday that its fourth quarter profit fell 24 percent, citing a provision related to the sale of its stake in cigarette company Philip Morris Mexico.
Profit at Grupo Carso dropped to 1.93 billion pesos in the three months to end-December, down from 2.54 billion pesos a year earlier.
Grupo Carso sold its 20 percent stake in Philip Morris Mexico, which operates Marlboro and Delicados tobacco brands in the country, for around $700 million in September. It was not immediately clear how much the charge was on the sale.
Revenue in the period was flat at 24.74 billion pesos.
The breakdown of results within the group illustrates a cross section of the Mexican economy, which slowed sharply in the fourth quarter as industry ground to a halt and the pace of services growth dropped.
Amid a consumer confidence slump, same-store sales at its retail arm Sanborns fell 1.6 percent in the quarter, while at its Sears chain they grew 0.5 percent.
Retail sales in Mexico saw their fastest drop in a year in December, pointing to flagging consumer demand in Latin America's No.2 economy.
Sales at CICSA, the group's construction arm, fell 2.8 percent in the period, hit by a fall in sales in the housing sector.
Strong demand from the autos and industrial metals sectors helped lift sales 2.8 percent at Condumex, the firm's manufacturing division, despite a drop-off in sales in the telecommunications market.
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