By Ian Walker
Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV's (AD.AE) net profit fell 18% in for the second quarter, it said Wednesday, blaming the drop on a strike at its U.S. supermarket chain Stop & Shop but backing its full-year guidance.
The Netherlands-based owner of grocery chains such as Stop & Shop and Giant Food made a quarterly net profit of 334 million euros ($374.6 million) compared with EUR408 million in the year-earlier period. Consensus estimates taken from the company's website and based on 16 analysts forecasts projected a result of EUR364 million.
Underling earnings per share--one of the company's key metrics which strips out exceptional and other one-off items--was 35 euro cents a share compared with 36 cents for the second quarter of 2018.
Ahold reiterated that it expects underlying EPS to grow in the low, single digits this year.
Net sales for the quarter rose to EUR16.32 billion from EUR15.53 billion a year before, the company said. In the U.S., its comparable sales were up 2.3% in the quarter excluding gasoline and adjusted for Easter and the strikes, Ahold Delhaize said.
Underlying operating margin for the quarter was 3.6%, the company said, backing its full-year forecast that its margin for 2019 will be slightly lower than 2018's 4.1%.
The company still expects 2019 free cash flow of around EUR1.8 billion.
The board declared an interim dividend of 30 cents a share.
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