BreadTalk Group's earnings jump 91% to hit record high last year

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A strategy focused on improving business at its outlets proved a record-breaking move for food and beverage chain BreadTalk Group last year.

Earnings came in at $21.8 million for the 12 months to Dec 31 - a record high and a 91 per cent jump from the $11.4 million previously. Revenue dipped 2.5 per cent to $599.7 million, in line with the group's consolidation strategy.

This involved helping the core divisions focus on improving existing outlets despite the unpredictable retail environment, BreadTalk noted yesterday before markets opened.

Turnover in the bakery division fell 3.2 per cent to $297.2 million on lower revenue from direct-operated stores in Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong, as well as lower franchise revenue from China due to planned early termination of eight franchisees.

Contribution from the food atrium division fell 5.4 per cent to $149.3 million, while that from the restaurant division rose 2.2 per cent to $140.7 million.

Net profit for the fourth quarter rose 14.4 per cent to $5.1 million, while revenue eased 2 per cent to $150.3 million.

The company recorded a net capital gain of $9.3 million, recognised from the divestment of the group's investment in TripleOne Somerset in the first quarter, compared with an $8.8 million net capital gain from the divestment of 112 Katong mall in the first quarter of 2016.

Excluding one-off items, core F&B business net profit would have rocketed 153.3 per cent to $17.7 million.

Full-year earnings per share came in at 7.76 cents, well up on the 4.07 cents previously, while net asset value per share was 57 cents as of Dec 31 last year, up from 54 cents a year earlier.

BreadTalk recommended a dividend of seven cents for the full year, 81.8 per cent higher than the 3.85 cents paid out in 2016. This comprises a special dividend of one cent per share and a final dividend of two cents per share.

Its bakery business invested significant efforts to consolidate and turn around some underperforming direct-operated stores in China and Singapore last year.

It expects to open its first Din Tai Fung outlet in London in the fourth quarter of this year and is also focused on deepening its reach here and in Thailand.

BreadTalk shares closed up 2.9 per cent at $1.75 yesterday.