Gardenia bread maker QAF may have been affected by a stronger Singdollar but all of its business segments had increased sales.
Net profit for the full year was up 17 per cent at $52.5 million, compared with the same period a year ago, QAF reported yesterday. Revenue for the 12 months to Dec 31 dipped 2 per cent to $998.3 million.
The company said the drop was "mainly attributable to the translation effect of a higher Singapore dollar exchange rate versus the domestic currencies of certain countries that the group operates in".
For instance, the lower average exchange rate of the Australian dollar against the Singdollar last year compared with a year ago meant that Rivalea (Australia) - QAF's fully integrated producer of meat in Australia - reported lower sales in terms of Singapore dollars.
The firm said: "Without the translation effect, all of the group's business segments - namely bakery, primary production, and trading and logistics - achieved increases in sales."
AT A GLANCE
FULL-YEAR NET PROFIT: $52.5 million (+17 per cent)
REVENUE: $998.3 million (-2%)
FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: Four cents (unchanged)
All of the bakery operations in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia reported increased sales, thanks to the launch of new products and increased market share. Rivalea racked up higher turnover because of more livestock sold and higher average selling prices, while the trading and logistics business segment improved sales from its export operations.
Costs of materials fell by $25.5 million, while staff expenses dropped by $700,000, along with other charges owing to "lower costs and expenses in Rivalea and the Malaysian bakery operations", on the back of a higher Singdollar.
"The bakery business segment also enjoyed lower ingredient costs," added QAF.
Earnings per share swelled to 9.4 cents from 8.2 cents a year ago, while net asset value per share was 76.1 cents as at Dec 31, up from 74.7 cents a year ago.
It proposed a final dividend of four cents per share, unchanged from a year earlier.
The firm also entered a conditional sale and purchase agreement yesterday to sell 20 per cent of the issued and paid-up share capital of Gardenia Bakeries (KL) for RM90 million (S$30 million) to Padiberas Nasional Berhad.
QAF said: "The regional economies are generally experiencing slower growth. Foreign exchange rates of regional currencies are also volatile and are trending downwards vis-a-vis the United States dollar.
"Despite the challenging economic conditions, the group is expected to achieve a satisfactory level of sales and profitability for the first quarter ending March 31, barring any unforeseen circumstances."
QAF shares fell one cent to $1.02 yesterday.