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Brazil's Hypermarcas beat profit estimates on revenue, taxes

SAO PAULO, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Hypermarcas SA, the largest Brazilian maker of generic drugs and personal care products, beat analysts' estimates for the third quarter after revenue rose faster than expenses and a surge in financial expenses was offset by a smaller tax burden.

The São Paulo-based company, the owner of Bozzano shaving foam brand and Engov hangover pills, earned 80.2 million reais ($36 million) in third-quarter profits, compared with 68.4 million reais a year earlier, according to a securities filing on Saturday. A Thomson Reuters poll of seven analysts predicted net income of 66.7 million reais for the company.

The results underpin Chief Executive Officer Claudio Bergamo's success in tightening Hypermarcas' sales policy to protect margins, putting a lid on costs and expenses and cutting the company's debt. Hypermarcas, whose shares are up 20 percent this year, has benefited from the emergence of over 35 million low-income Brazilians into employed consumers who are using more of their income to buy shampoos, generic drugs and nail polish.

"Despite the quarter's good result, there's a lot of work that needs to be done - the company will seek to generate more value for its shareholders by capturing more synergies in its top- and bottom-line, in a gradual, consisting and persisting way," the filing said.

Net revenue rose 12 percent on an annual basis, reaching 1.11 billion reais in the third quarter, after the launch of new products and following tighter sales and discounts terms with retailers and distributors. The number slightly surpassed expectations of 1.1 billion reais in the Reuters poll.

Marketing expenses, often used as a gauge of capital expenditures for Hypermarcas, jumped 21 percent to 216.7 million reais.

Sales, general and administrative expenses posted a combined increase of 3.8 percent to 247 million reais, compared with 238 million reais in the same period of 2012. Non-operating income, or a difference between income from investments and financial expenses, posted a shortfall of 114 million reais - more than twice the negative 55 million reais result a year earlier.

The company's tax burden fell to 28.5 million reais in the quarter, from 75.8 million reais a year earlier, bolstering earnings, the filing showed.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operational profitability known as EBITDA, reached 248.2 million reais in the quarter, slightly above the estimate of 245.5 million reais for EBITDA in the poll. Compared with the same period a year earlier, EBITDA rose 9.5 percent.

But operational cash flow, which Bergamo has pointed to as a key indicator of the company's performance, slipped in the third quarter to 169.6 million reais from 233.9 million reais a year ago. The indicator, which in 2012 surged in the wake of Bergamo's plan to lower discounts to clients and cut Hypermarcas' needs for working capital, may remain stable or improve next year, the filing said.

The company this week approved a plan to repurchase as much as $300 million of the outstanding $750 million in global bonds and a stock buyback that, at current prices, could reach 62 million reais. Those efforts, especially the bond buyback, aim to help protect Hypermarcas from the impact of potential swings in Brazil's currency, the real, the filing added.

Hypermarcas said on Friday that it hired investment banks Credit Suisse Group, Bradesco BBI, Itaú BBA and brokerage XP Investimentos Ltda to manage the share buyback.

Management plans to discuss results with investors in a conference call on Monday.