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Eastern European sales of Praktiker: profit rises 28%

Net income climbed to € 45.2 million ($57 million), or 78 cents a share, from € 35.4 million, or 68 cents, a year earlier, the Kirkel, Germany-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. CEO Wolfgang Werner is counting on a pickup in German homeownership and growth in eastern European countries such as Ukraine to boost revenue. Praktiker still expects annual sales to climb at least 2% and as much as 5% from last year's € 3.03 billion. „Praktiker continues to pursue its expansion course in eastern Europe,” the company said in its quarterly report, which was published on its Web site. The shares rose 16 cents to € 22.96 at 9:16 a.m. in Frankfurt. They cost € 14.50 when they were first sold to investors in November and have gained 50% this year, leading the 46-member Bloomberg Europe Retail Index. The company has a market value of € 1.33 billion. Sales rose 7.5% to € 888.3 million in the second quarter. In the company's home market, revenue rose 5.8%, with sales in stores open longer than a year climbing 8.1% as Praktiker closed five stores. Praktiker expects the „competitive environment” in Germany to continue in the second half of 2006. The retailer plans to spend € 90 million this year to open 11 stores in eastern Europe, including its first in Ukraine. (Bloomberg)