For the nine months to the end of June, F&N reported net sales down by 4.5% to SGD4bn (US$3.2bn). Profits after tax fell by around 22% on the same period of last year, to SGD554m, while operating profits fell by 9% to SGD654m.
F&N said that the headline figures disguised underlying strength in its business. Profits, it said, were made to look weaker by a one-off gain boosting earnings in the previous year. Excluding exceptional items, nine-month net profits dipped by 5%.
There were some positives in the group’s dairy division, which saw profits in the third quarter rise by 12% to SGD15m. Dairies Thailand posted record quarterly revenue in the final three months of the reporting period, F&N added.
There was speculation among analysts today (10 August) that ThaiBev has upped its stake in F&N by around two percentage points, to 24%. F&N’s board has agreed to sell the Asia Pacific Breweries stake to Heineken for SGD50 per share, but the deal must still go to a shareholder vote and ThaiBev may seek to block it or, at the least, raise the price.
The news follows F&N’s confirmation that a company reportedly owned by the son-in-law of ThaiBev’s owner, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has bought 7.26% of Asia Pacific Breweries (APB).
The other party in the equation is Kirin Holdings, which owns around 15% of F&N. Its intentions remain unclear, although Kirin‘s president, Senji Miyake, was quoted last week as saying that the firm is not interested in APB.
For its fiscal third-quarter, F&N saw net profits fall by 16% to SGD185m, but net sales increased by 4.4% to SGD1.4bn. Operating profits increased by 1% to SGD226m.