LISBON, Nov 5 (Reuters) - Portuguese retailer Jeronimo Martins posted a slightly higher-than-expected 11.5 percent rise in quarterly net profit from a year-ago as sales rose 7.6 percent, driven by its key Polish division.
Third-quarter net profit at the company, which is the largest food retailer in Poland and the second-largest domestically, rose to 103 million euros ($112 million), while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose about 9 percent to 224 million euros.
Analysts in a Reuters survey had forecast, on average, a net profit of 100 million euros and EBITDA of 222 million.
Total net sales rose to 3.53 billion euros in the quarter, also exceeding expectations of 3.51 billion.
EBITDA margin - a measure of profitability - at the Polish unit Biedronka fell to 6.9 percent in the first nine months of the year, 10 basis points lower than a year ago, but slightly above 6.8 percent reported in the first six months of the year.
"In view of the strength of the balance sheet and the cash flow generated over the period, the board will request an Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting to approve the payment in 2015 of 236 million euros from free reserves," the company said reiterating that it planned to deliver on its 2015 targets.
$1 = 0.9199 euros Reporting By Andrei Khalip, editing by Axel Bugge