SINGAPORE (May 12): Food Empire Holdings has announced first quarter earnings of US$6.6 million (S$9.3 million), down 13.3% from the US$7.8 million a year ago.

Group revenue grew 5% y-o-y to US$74.2 million, as compared to US$70.7 million previously.

The higher revenue was contributed by higher sales in the group’s Kazakhstan and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) markets, and offset by underperforming markets and lower translated revenue from its Southeast Asia markets.

Foreign exchange loss for the quarter was reported at US$2.9 million in 1Q2020 as compared to a foreign exchange gain of US$0.4 million in 1Q2019. The loss was mainly due to the depreciation of the Russian ruble against the US dollar towards the end of March, as a result of the sudden drop in oil prices due to a disagreement between Russia , and the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) over oil production cuts.

While the group expects financial results for Russia, Ukraine, and the CIS markets to be negatively impacted in the next quarter owing to lower sales volumes arising from the pandemic containment efforts and currency depreciation, it has mitigated this with a series of gradual price increases of its products in certain key markets from April 2020.

As at March 31, Food Empire’s cash and cash equivalents stood at US$49.7 million, which includes US$7.6 million earmarked for dividends to be paid in May 2020.

As at 10.02am, shares in Food Empire are trading 2 cents lower, or 3.8% down, at 51 cents.