A jump in catering orders and better cost management led events caterer Neo Group to report a large rise in net profit for the six months ended July 31.
Earnings soared four times over a year ago to $2.8 million for the period, said the group, which is listed on the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board.
Neo Group's revenue rose 23.2 per cent from the same period last year to $23.1 million, mainly due to contributions from its food catering business. The company saw an increase in social catering events as well as contributions from the corporate and government sectors, it said in a filing to the SGX.
Revenue for the group's food retail business segment also grew by 11 per cent to $5.9 million. This was boosted by more delivery sales since the launch of the group's new online order system in January, as well as higher sales at most of its existing 18 "umisushi" outlets.
Neo Group's founder, chairman and chief executive Neo Kah Kiat said: "Our strong performance was, in part, due to highly effective cost management and the implementation of other measures to enhance the group's overall operational efficiency."
Neo Group said it intends to "aggressively expand (its) corporate sales force to capture more market share" in the corporate catering segment, which makes up majority of the local events catering industry.
It will continue expanding its food retail business locally and overseas through franchising or licensing.
Neo Group's earnings per share as at July 31 was up 0.53 cents to 1.92 cents, while net asset value per share rose to 13 cents, up from 12.1 cents as at Jan 31.
The directors also declared an interim tax-exempt dividend of 1.16 cents per share for its first half performance.
Its shares closed up one cent to 45.5 cents.