Lower expenses lift Courts' full-year earnings

Mr O'Connor, chief executive of Courts Asia, is optimistic that the increase in the number of HDB flats in Singapore, coupled with HDB resale flat and private home sales, will help increase demand for appliances and furniture.
Mr O'Connor, chief executive of Courts Asia, is optimistic that the increase in the number of HDB flats in Singapore, coupled with HDB resale flat and private home sales, will help increase demand for appliances and furniture.ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

Fall in distribution and marketing expenses boosts profit by 16.8%

Lower expenses boosted full-year earnings amid steady sales for electrical, IT and furniture retailer Courts Asia.

Net profit rose 16.8 per cent to $20.3 million for the 12 months to March 31, the firm said yesterday, while revenue inched up 1.6 per cent to $770.4 million.

Turnover in Singapore made up 65.6 per cent of the revenue, while Malaysian sales comprised 32.3 per cent.

Singapore revenue increased 0.1 per cent, and turnover rose 11.7 per cent in Malaysia in ringgit terms. The weakening currency, however, meant it grew just 0.5 per cent in Singdollar terms. Indonesia, which contributed to 2.1 per cent of sales, recorded a 147.5 per cent rise, mainly due to new store openings.

Better warehouse and distribution cost management helped lower expenses.

Distribution and marketing expenses fell $2.2 million to $57.3 million. Lower impairment allowance of trade receivables also led to less bad debt written off and lowered administrative expenses, which fell $3.5 million to $144.3 million.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • FY2016 NET PROFIT:

    $20.3 million (+16.8%)

    FY 2016 REVENUE:

    $770.4 million (+1.6%)

    EARNINGS PER SHARE:

    3.82 cents (+20.9%)

Chief executive Terence O'Connor said that while the company expects the business environment in Malaysia to remain "tough", there is opportunity to negotiate for lower rental rates and further cut costs against the weak retail backdrop.

Mr O'Connor said he is optimistic that the increase in supply of HDB flats in Singapore this year, coupled with HDB resale flat and private home sales, will contribute to demand for appliances and furniture.

Calling Indonesia "a key growth driver", he said: "We plan to launch four additional stores to tap the growing middle class in this country.

"With the economy anticipated to pick up pace over the next one to two years, the prospect of higher private consumption appears good."

Courts Asia is working on reviewing store productivity and attracting tenants with complementary products to enhance offerings.

The company said it will continue with cost savings efforts, and expects interest expenses to fall this financial year.

It retired a $125 million three-year bond that was issued in 2013 and issued $75 million in bonds under its $500 million multi-currency debt issuance programme in March.

Full-year earnings per share increased 20.9 per cent to 3.82 cents while net asset value per share rose to 55.8 cents as of March 31, from 55.1 cents a year earlier.

Courts Asia shares closed down one cent at 32.5 cents yesterday after results were announced.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2016, with the headline 'Lower expenses lift Courts' full-year earnings'. Print Edition | Subscribe