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Jean Coutu profit climbs, beats estimates

Pharmacy chain operator Jean Coutu Group says its third-quarter profits rose to $48-million from $44.6-million a year ago, beating analysts' expectations.

Revenues at the Quebec-based chain were down slightly to $677.3-million from $678.1-million in the year-earlier, when over-the-counter medication sales spiked on concerns over the H1N1 flu outbreak.

The pharmacy's third-quarter profit amounted to 21 cents a share, compared to 19 cents a year ago.

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Analysts, on the whole, expected that the Jean Coutu would earn 19 cents per share for the quarter, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters.

Jean Coutu, which is Quebec's largest pharmacy retailer, faces a change in provincial rules next year that could drive down the revenue it receives from generic drugs.

The company conceded in July that the new policy would hurt its results since generic drugs account for 20 per cent of the dollar value of its drug sales and 40 per cent of sales based on volume.

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