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Grupo Casa Saba Announces 3Q09 Earnings Report
Date:10/28/2009

MEXICO CITY, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Grupo Casa Saba (NYSE: 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, announces its consolidated financial and operating results for the third quarter of 2009.

Financial Highlights:

(All figures are expressed in millions of Mexican pesos of purchasing power as of September 2009. Comparisons are made with the same period of 2008, unless otherwise stated. Figures may vary due to rounding practices).

    - Sales for the quarter grew 4.90% to reach $7,009.53 million
    - Gross income increased 2.43%
    - The gross margin for the quarter was 10.87%
    - Quarterly operating expenses as a percentage of sales were 7.87%,
      slightly higher than
      the margin of 7.75% registered during the third quarter of 2008
    - Operating income decreased 6.93% versus 3Q08
    - The operating margin for the quarter was 3.00%
    - The CCF for the quarter declined 22.15%
    - Tax provisions were 61.14% lower than in 3Q08
    - Net profit for the quarter was $155.38 million, an increase of 39.03%
    - Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter was $161.17 million

    QUARTERLY EARNINGS

NET SALES

During the third quarter of 2009, GCS's sales were $7,009.53 million, an increase of 4.90%.

SALES BY DIVISION

Private Pharma

Sales in our Private Pharma division rose 6.19% during the third quarter of 2009. This growth was primarily driven by our Mexican pharmaceutical distribution business.

Sales for this division reached $5,951.63 million versus $5,604.89 million in 3Q08 and represented 84.91% of the Group's total sales.

GOVERNMENT PHARMA

Sales in our Government Pharma division this quarter grew 5.19% to $269.42 million compared to $256.13 million in the third quarter of 2008. This was mainly due to an increase in our participation in the bidding processes of the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (IMSS), the Instituto de Seguridad Social del Estado de Mexico y Municipios (ISSEMYM) and the Centro Nacional de Equidad de Genero y Salud Reproductiva (National Center for Gender Equity and Reproductive Health).

As a percentage of total sales, this division went from representing 3.83% in 3Q08 to 3.84% during the third quarter of 2009.

HEALTH, BEAUTY, CONSUMER GOODS, GENERAL MERCHANDISE AND OTHER

Sales in our Health, Beauty, Consumer Goods, General Merchandise and Other division reached $595.08 million, a decline of 3.14% compared to the third quarter of 2008. This was due to a decrease in promotions and discounts in an effort to improve this division's operating margin.

This division represented 8.49% of GCS's total sales in 3Q09, slightly lower than the same period of the previous year when it accounted for 9.19% of the Group's total sales.

PUBLICATIONS

Publication sales decreased 6.39% during the quarter, primarily as a result of lower unit sales. This decrease in units was due to the fact that Citem stopped distributing publications to international clients as well as some publications that no longer met our minimal profitability requirements.

Consequently, this division's participation as a percentage of total sales went from 3.09% in 3Q08 to 2.76% in the third quarter of 2009.

There were marginal changes in the sales mix during the quarter. Private Pharma sales represented 84.91% of total sales (compared to 83.88% during the third quarter of 2008), while Government Pharma accounted for 3.84% (versus 3.83% during the third quarter of 2008). Health, Beauty, Consumer Goods, General Merchandise and Other represented 8.49% (compared to 9.19% in the third quarter of 2008) and Publications made up the remaining 2.76% (versus 3.09% during the third quarter of 2008).

GROSS INCOME

During the third quarter of the year, Grupo Casa Saba's gross income increased 2.43% versus the same period of the previous year to reach $762.04 million. This growth was primarily driven by our Private Pharma division.

The company's gross margin was 10.87%, 26 basis points lower than the 11.13% margin posted during 3Q08. The margin was affected by an increase in the cost of sales resulting from less favorable commercial conditions with the main Brazilian wholesalers.

OPERATING EXPENSES

GCS's operating expenses reached $551.63 million in 3Q09, an increase of 6.52% compared to the third quarter of 2008. The increase in expenses continues to be related to our Brazilian operations.

Operating expenses represented 7.87% of our total sales in 3Q09 compared to 7.75% during the same period of the previous year.

OPERATING INCOME

Quarterly operating income was $210.41 million, 6.93% lower than the $226.07 reported in 3Q08. This decline was due to the fact that the growth in sales was not sufficient to offset the increase in operating expenses.

The operating margin was 3.00%, 38 basis points lower than the 3.38% margin registered in the third quarter of 2008.

OPERATING INCOME PLUS DEPRECIATION AND AMORTIZATION

Operating income plus depreciation and amortization for 3Q09 was $235.41 million, a decrease of 5.72% compared to the third quarter of 2008. Depreciation and amortization for the period was $25.00 million, 5.90% higher than in the third quarter of 2008.

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the third quarter of 2009 was $161.17 million, a decline of 44.99% compared to the same period of 2008.

COMPREHENSIVE COST OF FINANCING

During the period, GCS's comprehensive cost of financing (CCF) reached $47.71 million, 22.15% lower than the CCF reported during 3Q08. This was primarily due to a reduction in the amount of interest income paid as well as a lower exchange rate loss.

These interest payments are related to the long-term credit that was obtained as a result of the acquisition in Brazil as well as the interest that was generated from the utilization of short-term credits for our operations in both Mexico and Brazil.

OTHER EXPENSES (INCOME)

During the third quarter of 2009, the Company registered an income of $17.43 million in other expenses (income), an increase of 20.59% versus the same period of 2008. The expenses (income) from this line item were derived from activities that are distinct from the company's everyday business operations.

TAX PROVISIONS

During the third quarter, tax provisions were $24.74 million, 61.14% less than the $63.67 million obtained during 3Q08. Of these, $75.89 million were related to income tax payments and ($51.15) million were attributed to deferred income tax.

The effective tax rate for the quarter was 13.74%.

NET INCOME

As a result, GCS's net income for the third quarter was $155.38 million, an increase of 39.03% compared to the third quarter of 2008. The growth was primarily due to the reduction in both the CCF as well as the tax provisions. Consequently, the net margin for the period was 2.22%, 55 basis points higher than the 1.67% net margin registered during the third quarter of 2008.

WORKING CAPITAL

During the third quarter of 2009, our accounts receivable days increased by 7.3 days from 3Q08 to reach 69.3 days. In addition, our accounts payable days rose by 6.1 days versus 3Q08, to reach 56.3 days. Finally, our inventory days were 60.4 days, 0.7 fewer days compared to the same period of the previous year.

    Contacts:
    Grupo Casa Saba
    Patrik Zielinski
    +52 (55) 5284-6623
    pzielinski@casasaba.com

    Sandra Yatsko
    +52 (55) 5284-6698
    syatsko@casasaba.com

    IR Communications
    Jesus Martinez Rojas
    +52 (55) 5644-1247
    jesus@irandpr.com

SOURCE Grupo Casa Saba


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SOURCE Grupo Casa Saba
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