PARIS, July 31 (Reuters) - Carrefour, the world’s second-largest retailer, posted stronger-than-expected first-half operating profit on Friday, driven by a recovering Europe and resilient Brazilian operations.
This helped offset lower profitability in France - where the integration of recently acquired Dia stores, a rise in taxes on larger commercial spaces and the transfer to Carmila of rental income from shopping malls weighed - and in China, which continued to suffer amid slowing consumption.
Carrefour, which makes 73 percent of its sales in Europe, is pursuing a global revival by focusing on price and cost cuts, and expansion into smaller convenience stores, while also renovating its core traditional hypermarket network.
Europe’s largest retailer said first-half recurring operating profit rose 2.6 percent to 726 million euros ($794 million) at constant exchange rates, above the average estimate of 711 million in a Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S poll.
Carrefour finance head Pierre-Jean Sivignon said earlier this month the market consensus for 2015 earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) of 2.51-2.53 billion euros was “reasonable”. He repeated that comment on Friday. ($1 = 0.9142 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by James Regan)