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Thursday, November 14, 2013

FNHB pre-tax profit up 34pc

Publication: NST
Date of publication: Nov 9, 2013
Section heading: Business Times
Page number: 002
Byline / Author: By Ooi Tee Ching

KUALA LUMPUR: Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd (FNHB) does not have any immediate plan to raise the prices of its beverages despite the government doing away with sugar subsidy.

The retail price of sugar has jumped by more than 15 per cent to RM2.84 per kg since October 26.

FNHB flagship products are isotonic drinks and other related soft drinks under the brand names Seasons, 100PLUS, F&N, Fruit Tree, Red Bull and Ice Mountain.

"No, there's no plan to raise our prices. The subsidy waiver doesn't make any difference to us as we have been buying sugar from the international market for the last two years," said its chief executive officer Somsak Chayapong.

"The waiver of sugar subsidy is of no great impact to us. But we do face economic inflation pressure and are affected by rising fuel prices. Transporters are charging extra," he said after announcing the firm's full-year results 2012/13, here, yesterday.

On the goods and services tax (GST), Somsak said it is unlikely to have any impact on the company's business.

"In Thailand, the GST has been implemented for the past 10 years. So, I don't think there will be a major impact in terms of consumption. However, we will have to prepare back-up plans," he said.

The government will be introducing a six per cent goods and services tax (GST) from April 2015.

For the year ended September, FNHB's pre-tax profit rose 34 per cent to RM308.71 million from RM230.21 million a year ago. Its revenue rose by 10.6 per cent to RM3.51 billion from RM3.17 billion previously.

The results were driven by a seven per cent growth in the company's soft drink sales, along with a notable post-flood full-year contribution from its Thai dairy operations, which grew by 40 per cent.

Early this year, Thailand's third-richest person Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi outbid Indonesia's Riady family for Fraser and Neave (F&N) when he offered US$11.2 billion (RM35.73 billion) for the beverage giant.

The takeover added popular brands and a strong distribution network to Charoen's Thai Beverage Pcl, which brews the Chang (Elephant) beer and manufactures spirits, energy drinks and instant coffee.

Today, FNHB, a unit of F&N, is valued at RM6.78 billion, with Permodalan Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund owning 18.9 per cent and 7.6 per cent, respectively, of its local operations.

This year, FNHB will celebrate its 130th anniversary by giving shareholders a 30 sen per share dividend, along with a special single-tier of 10 sen per share. This brings the total dividend to 60 sen a share, slightly higher than last year's 58 sen.

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