Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Dufry AG, a Swiss operator of duty-free stores in airports and bus depots, reported first-quarter earnings that beat analyst estimates amid stronger demand in southern Europe.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounted to 146.5 million Swiss francs ($153.5 million), the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Analysts expected 141 million francs, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.

Spain, Greece and Italy are reporting record numbers of bookings and the company forecast a “very strong” performance in the region this year. That may bode well for European retailers and luxury-goods makers who have suffered from a drop in tourism after the November terror attacks in Paris and the March bombings in Brussels.

Spain showed “strong” double-digit growth, while France, Italy, Malta and Portugal also supported the region. Turkey is still suffering from the absence of Russian consumers, the company said.

“Europe had another strong quarter and countries impacted by Brazilians andRussians continued to recover,” Chief Executive Officer Julian Diaz said in the statement, adding that organic growth will gradually improve throughout the year and will end up positive for 2016.

Separately, the company said the integration of World Duty Free SpA will be completed by mid-2017. Dufry had acquired its Italian rival for 2.6 billion euros last year, creating a business that will control almost a quarter of the airport retail market.

To contact the reporter on this story: Corinne Gretler in Zurich at cgretler1@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew Boyle at mboyle20@bloomberg.net, Thomas Mulier, Paul Jarvis

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