Carrefour eyes higher 2015 capex after 2014 profit rises
PARIS, March 5 (Reuters) - Carrefour, the world's second-largest retailer, said it would boost capital expenditure this year as it seeks to cement a revival of its European hypermarkets and expand in the key emerging market of Brazil.
Europe's biggest retailer also proposed raising its 2014 dividend by 7.9 percent to 0.68 euros a share after operating profit rose 6.7 percent, in line with analysts expectations.
The performance reflected improved profitability at its core French and European businesses, where a turnaround is starting to pay off, and robust growth in Brazil.
Asia remained weak, however, amid slowing consumption and a government crackdown on lavish spending in China.
Carrefour said it would invest between 2.5 billion and 2.6 billion euros in 2015 on renovating and expanding stores, including those of recently acquired discounter Dia in France. This compares with 2.4 billion euros ($2.65 billion) last year.
The world's second-biggest retailer behind Wal-Mart, said 2014 operating profit rose to 2.387 billion euros, in line with a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll average of 2.38 billion.
Carrefour said on Wednesday that Chairman and Chief Executive Georges Plassat was expected to return to work before the end of April, once his recovery from surgery was complete. ($1 = 0.9064 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)
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