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MONTREAL -- Thanks to its acquisition of A&P Canada last year, Metro, Inc. here amassed net earnings of $78.9 million (US $69.3 million) in the fourth quarter of 2006 vs. $50.2 million in the year-ago period -- a 57.2 percent leap. Fully diluted net earnings per share were 68 cents, compared with 48 cents last year, a 41.7 percent increase.
Sales for the quarter rose 37 percent to $2.67 billion (US $2.35 billion), while those for fiscal 2006 went up 64.7 percent to $10.94 billion (US $9.61 billion). Last year's sales for the fourth quarter and the fiscal year were $1.95 billion (US $1.71 billion) and $6.65 billion (US $5.84 billion), respectively. Including A&P Canada stores, fourth-quarter and fiscal 2006 same-store sales grew 1.4 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.
Net earnings for fiscal 2006 increased 32.9 percent to $253 million (US $222 million), vs. $190.4 million (US $167.2 million) last year. Fully diluted net earnings per share grew 13.5 percent to $2.18 from $1.92 in the year-ago period.
Noted president and c.e.o. Pierre H. Lessard: "We are pursuing our integration and rationalization plan. Store conversions, integration of our Quebec and Ontario operations, and deployment of our information systems at A&P Canada are progressing well. We exceeded our revised target of $45 million in synergies in the first year and are confident that we shall exceed the revised second-year target of $70 million as well. A year after the acquisition of A&P, we are satisfied with our progress to date and are confident that Metro is well positioned to pursue its growth in the Canadian grocery market."
During fiscal 2006 the company and its retails invested $312.6 million (US $274.5 million) in its store base, remodeling 49 locations and opening 20 new stores.
Additionally, the company appointed Michel Labonte to fill a vacant position on its board of dirctors. Labonte, who will act as chair of the audit committee, has occupied various positions at major companies, among them s.v.p., finance, technology, and corporate affairs at the National Bank of Canada, and e.v.p., finance and administration at Hydro-Quebec.