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Asia Pacific Breweries see 88% profit-rise

Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. (APB) reported an 88% rise in 2001 net profit, boosted by exceptional gains from the sale of two businesses and stronger production from newer plants in Vietnam and Thailan…

Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd. (APB) reported an 88% rise in 2001 net profit, boosted by exceptional gains from the sale of two businesses and stronger production from newer plants in Vietnam and Thailand. Singapore-based APB, a subsidiary of soft drinks conglomerate Fraser & Neave that is best known for brewing Tiger beer, posted higher than expected net profit of SGD 95.56 million for the year ended 30 September. But revenues fell 14.2% percent to SGD 1 billion. Analysts gave an average net profit forecast of SGD 84.6 million, with the estimates ranging from SGD 78 million to SGD 89 million. APB said it was difficult to predict the outlook for the current year due to the uncertain global political and economic situation, although it remained confident of long-term prospects. “The group has sharpened its focus having divested its non-beer interests in 2000,” it said in a statement. “The regionalization strategy embarked upon in the early 1990s has paid off.” APB said its breweries in Vietnam and Thailand performed well and contributed 19% of group profit. Higher domestic beer sales in Singapore and strong growth in exports were offset by higher marketing expenditure, it said. Competitive market conditions also eroded operating margins in Malaysia. Higher beer volumes were achieved in Papua New Guinea but earnings were affected by a 13% weakening of the local currency. But APB“s bottom line was helped by exceptional gains from the disposal of its wine business by DB Group in New Zealand for SGD 25.7 million and sale of its soft drinks business in Papua New Guinea for SGD 1.4 million. On its operations in China, APB said losses had declined significantly with a first-time profit achieved in Hainan and lower losses in Shanghai despite increased shareholding in the business there to 48.5% from 35% previously.

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