SINGAPORE (Jan 12): Duty Free International has reported earnings of RM22.3 million ($7.1 million) for 3QFY17, a 32.9% increase compared with the earnings of RM16.7 million in 3QFY16.

For the quarter to November, revenue fell 13% to RM133 million due to the slowdown of tourism traffic to and from Thailand following the demise of King Bhumibol in October 2016.

However, pretax profits rose 21.2% to RM26.3 million, driven by a RM9.6 million net gain from foreign exchange.

Employee benefits expenses rose by 13% to RM9.4 million from a higher headcount with the opening of a new outlet at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, and the appointment of a CEO and operations director at a subsidiary of the company.

Other operating expenses fell 34.4% to RM 5.3 million from the decrease in transport costs of RM 0.7 million and a net loss in foreign exchange of RM 2.2 million in 3QFY16 that was not repeated in the current quarter.

Duty Free says that its operating business environment continue to remain competitive and challenging, amid the flooding in southern Thailand, economic uncertainties and the volatile currency fluctuations.

However, it added that it will continue to focus on managing its costs and business risks, while improving its operational efficiencies.

The group declared a second interim dividend of 1.25 cents during the current quarter.

Shares in Duty Free closed 1 cent lower at 39 cents on Thursday.