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Fraser & Neave doubles Q2 profit to S$35.9m

MAINBOARD-LISTED drinks maker Fraser & Neave (F&N) said on Tuesday that earnings doubled in its second quarter, lifted by stronger sales from its dairy businesses which include Vinamilk. 

Profit attributable to shareholders for the quarter ended March 31 doubled to S$35.9 million, from S$15 million in the year before. F&N said that  this was mainly due to higher contributions from dairies operations, particularly from Vinamilk, its associated company in Vietnam. The group owns 20.01 per cent of Vinamilk shares.Revenue rose 3.4 per cent to S$467.4 million, driven by stronger dairy and soft drinks sales. Dairies revenue rose 5 per cent to S$287.6 million, supported by growth from its Thailand operations. Likewise, beverages revenue gained 6.1 per cent to S$122.1 million on growth in its Singapore soft drinks segment, which saw improved sales of 100Plus and Seasons Iced Lemon Tea. 

However, printing and publishing revenue declined 8.6 per cent due to lower printing volumes faced by the group's printing plants in Singapore and Malaysia.

For the first half of financial year 2019, revenue grew 1.9 per cent to S$931.8 million, while net profit rose 81 per cent to S$73.8 million. 

F&N declared an interim dividend of 1.5 cents per share, unchanged from the interim dividend declared a year ago. The dividend will be paid on June 10.

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Koh Poh Tiong, chairman of the board executive committee, said that F&N has yielded "robust performance" despite challenging marketplace conditions in core markets. 

However, the group will continue to explore new investment opportunities to further grow its beverages and dairies businesses. F&N will also continue to diversify its printing and publishing portfolio to address falling volumes in its traditional print business, as seen from its recent move to take a 60 per cent stake in Singapore marketing and print solution provider, Print Lab. 

Weeks earlier, the group also opened its first standalone children's concept store under the Times Junior brand at Jewel Changi Airport.

F&N's counter closed at S$1.79 on Tuesday, down S$0.01, before the results were announced. 

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