Best World sees 145% jump in Q3 profit on new franchise business in China; declares 1.2 cents dividend

SINGAPORE - Best World International has posted a net profit of $29.9 million in the third quarter, up 145.3 per cent from the same period a year earlier, boosted by new revenue from its franchise business in China.

Revenue in the three months ended Sept 30 rose 96.8 per cent to $92.1 million, due mainly to the full commencement of the franchise business in China since July, which also lifted profit margins. Franchise revenue accounted for $60.5 million, or 65.7 per cent of third-quarter revenue.

Best World has declared a special dividend of 1.2 cents per share "in view of the achievement of a new milestone" in its China operations. The books closure date is Dec 4. No dividend was declared in the same period last year.

Earnings per share was 5.44 cents, up 146.2 per cent from 2.21 cents in the third quarter last year.

Net asset value per share was 27.94 cents as at Sept 30, up from 23.54 cents as at Dec 31 last year.

The group said that China will be its key growth driver for the next 12 months, where the "DR's Secret" skin care line has met strong demand. At the end of September, Best World had 28 franchisees throughout China with operations covering 10 provinces and one municipality, including Zhejiang, Sichuan, Guangdong, Henan, Heilongjiang and Chongqing.

Best World said in its results filing on Thursday: "Together with contribution from the group's operations in Taiwan, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the management is cautiously optimistic that the group will be able to register bottom line growth for 2018, despite having recorded lower revenue and profit during the transition phase in the first half of the year."

The group said it has been "actively exploring M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and corporate development opportunities", so higher professional fees and other related expenses are to be expected in the second half of the 2018 relative to the first.

Best World shares rose three cents or 1.63 per cent to close at $1.87 on Thursday before results were released after close of trading.