Jeronimo Martins Stays Flexible After Colombia Cost, Dividend

Jeronimo Martins SGPS SA, Portugal’s biggest retailer, said it has the flexibility to exploit investment opportunities that may arise even after paying an extraordinary dividend and as it expands in Colombia and Poland.

“The performance of the business is robust and the capacity of the group to generate strong and sustainable cash flow have become more evident over the past 18 months,” Chief Financial Officer Alan Johnson said on a conference call yesterday. The extraordinary dividend “does not change in any way our current dividend policy.”

Jeronimo Martins, which owns the Pingo Doce supermarket chain in Portugal and Poland’s leading discount-store operator, Biedronka, plans to open its first stores in Colombia by the end of the first quarter of 2013, Rita Fragoso, a spokeswoman for the Lisbon-based company, said last month.

“We continue our preparations to start operations in Colombia and we will cover this in more detail at the investor day meeting in December,” said Johnson. Acquisitions may play a role in Jeronimo Martins’ plans to expand in the South American country, he said on March 8.

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