Grupo Casa Saba Reports -- The Distribution and Retail Divisions Improve Their Performance and Profitability

Marketwired

MEXICO CITY--(Marketwire -02/27/12)- Grupo Casa Saba (NYSE: SAB - News)

Financial Highlights:
(All figures are expressed in millions of Mexican pesos. Comparisons are made with the same period of 2010, unless otherwise stated. Figures may vary due to rounding practices).

-- The Group's net sales for the quarter reached $11,499.91 million pesos
-- Gross income for the period was $2,468.62 million; the gross margin for the quarter was 21.47%
-- Fourth quarter operating expenses reached $1,949.63 million pesos and represented 16.95% of the Company's total sales
-- Quarterly operating income was $519.00 million, resulting in an operating margin of 4.51% for the period
-- Fourth quarter operating income plus depreciation and amortization was $635.31 million, or 5.52% of sales
-- The Group's net profit for the quarter was $170.35 million
-- As of December 31, 2011, GCS's net debt totaled $9,952.66 million pesos
-- GCS closed the quarter with 26 Distribution Centers and over 1,500 pharmacies in operation across Latin America

Mexico City, Mexico, February 27, 2012. Grupo Casa Saba (SAB) ("Saba," "GCS," "the Company" or "the Group"), one of the leading Mexican distributors of pharmaceutical products, health and beauty aids, personal care and consumer goods, general merchandise, publications and other products and one of the most important pharmacy chains in Latin America, announces its consolidated financial and operating results for the fourth quarter of 2011.

QUARTERLY EARNINGS
In the fourth quarter of 2011 an intense level of competition prevailed in the distribution and sales of pharmaceutical, health, beauty and consumer products both in Mexico and the Latin American countries where we operate. As part of our operative strategy, we continued to emphasize improving the level of our logistic efficiency as well as cost and expense controls, which generated positive results in almost all of our divisions. In terms of sales, we focused on improving the availability of the products that are the most sought after by our clients at the distribution and retail levels as well as our customer service on the sales floor. In terms of growth, new pharmacy openings in Latin America and Mexico enabled us to strengthen our presence and our brand recognition in the markets where we operate.

We closed the fourth quarter of 2011 with a total of 26 distribution centers and more than 1,500 pharmacies in operation throughout Latin America.

We will continue to improve our logistic and commercial operations in order to position our pharmacies' brands as leaders in the markets where we operate, offering our clients competitive prices as well as excellent service levels and integral health, beauty and consumer goods solutions. In our distribution division, we will continue to focus on service by offering our clients the best product catalog along with a high level of logistical and delivery services.

NET SALES
During the fourth quarter of 2011, net sales reached $11,499.91 million, an increase of 0.38% compared to the $11,456.40 million reported during the same period of 2010. This was the result of the improved performance of our Retail and Government Pharma divisions as well as the sale of Health, Beauty and Consumer goods products.

SALES BY DIVISION

DISTRIBUTION DIVISION

During the fourth quarter of the year, our Distribution division generated 60.44% of the Group's total sales, a 1.38% decrease versus 4Q10.

PRIVATE PHARMA
Private Pharma sales decreased 5.92% during the fourth quarter of 2011, from $5,900.81 million in 4Q10 to $5,551.37 million in 4Q11. As a result, this division represented 48.27% of the Group's total sales.

During the period, the Private Pharma division was affected by lower sales to some special and institutional clients, as well as stricter credit policies that we expect will have a positive effect on our profitability level.

GOVERNMENT PHARMA
Quarterly sales in our Government Pharma division grew 60.14% to reach $349.70 million compared to $218.38 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. This growth was due to the increase in sales to various Health institutions, including PEMEX, IMSS, ISSSTE, the Metro and other state institutions.

In terms of total sales, this division's participation went from 1.91% in 4Q10 to 3.04% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

HEALTH, BEAUTY, CONSUMER GOODS, GENERAL MERCHANDISE AND OTHER
Sales in our Health, Beauty, Consumer Goods, General Merchandise and Other division grew by 17.94% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010 to reach $868.77 million pesos. This growth was the result of a higher penetration of exclusive brands, such as Nature Made, as well as the launching of other exclusive brands, such as Curél.

During the quarter, this division represented 7.55% of GCS's total sales, 112 basis points higher than in 4Q10, when this division generated 6.43% of the Company's net sales.

PUBLICATIONS
CITEM, GCS's publication distribution division, generated $181.71 million pesos in sales, a 6.01% decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. This was due to an adjustment in the number of publications delivered by various publishers and the fact that some of the special publications geared towards the holiday season that were sold in 4Q10 were not released this year.

Consequently, this division's participation as a percentage of total sales went from 1.69% in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 1.58% in 4Q11.

RETAIL PHARMACY
In 4Q11, the Retail Pharmacy division reported sales of $4,548.37 million, 3.20% higher than the $4,407.24 million registered during the same period of 2010.

This division's participation as a percentage of the Group's total sales was 39.56% versus 38.47% in 4Q10.

Sales from this division were generated by the more than 1,500 pharmacies that we had in operation at the end of 4Q11 of which: 23.16% were in Chile, 58.78% were located in Mexico, 12.36% in Peru and 5.70% were in Brazil.

GROSS INCOME
During the fourth quarter of the year, Grupo Casa Saba's gross income was $2,468.62 million pesos, 21.04% higher than the $2,039.47 million registered during the same period of 2010. This increase was primarily due to the improved performance of our Retail Pharmacy division in practically all of the countries, where we directed our efforts at improving our customer service, product availability and commercial offers. Our distribution division also contributed to the increase due to an improved sales mix.

As a result, the company's gross margin was 21.47%, higher than the gross margin of 17.80% registered in 4Q10.

OPERATING EXPENSES
GCS's 4Q11 operating expenses reached $1,949.63 million, a decrease of 4.35% compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. This increase was the result of the strict cost control measures that were implemented in both the Distribution and Retail Pharmacy divisions throughout the course of 2011.

As a percentage of total sales, operating expenses represented 16.95% of GCS's total sales in 4Q11 compared to 17.79% during the same period of the previous year.

OPERATING INCOME
Quarterly operating income for 4Q11 was $519.00 million, greater than the $1.24 million reported in 4Q10. This increase was the result of higher gross income as well as the reduction in expenses.

As a result, the operating margin for the period was 4.51%.

OPERATING INCOME PLUS DEPRECIATION AND AMORTIZATION
Operating income plus depreciation and amortization for 4Q11 was $635.31 million, an increase compared to the $139.79 million reported during the fourth quarter of 2010.

The fourth quarter 2011 operating income plus depreciation and amortization margin was 5.52%.

NET DEBT
As of December 31, 2011, GCS's net debt totaled $9,952.66 million pesos.

COMPREHENSIVE COST OF FINANCING (CCF)
The Group's CCF reached $269.79 million, 52.92% higher than the CCF reported during 4Q10. This was primarily due to the increase in interest payments and an exchange rate loss in 4Q11 versus an exchange rate gain in 4Q10.

OTHER EXPENSES (INCOME)
During the fourth quarter of 2011, the Company reported an income in the Other Expenses (Income) line item of $28.37 million compared to an expense of $302.49 million registered during the same period of the previous year.

It is important to mention that the results listed in this line item are derived from activities outside of the company's normal business operations and, as a result, they are not necessarily recurrent.

TAX PROVISIONS
Tax provisions for the fourth quarter of 2011 were $107.23 million pesos, which is not comparable with the ($42.78) million reported in 4Q10. Of these, $231.36 million were related to income tax payments and ($124.13) million were attributed to deferred income tax.

NET INCOME
GCS registered a net income of $170.35 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus a loss of $434.90 million during the fourth quarter of 2010.

Consequently, the net margin for 4Q11 was 1.48%.

Contact:

GRUPO CASA SABA
Sandra Yatsko
IR
+52 (55) 5284-6672
Email Contact
Alejandro Sadurni
CFO
Email Contact
IR Communications:
Jesus Martinez Rojas
+52 (55) 5644-1247
Email Contact

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