SINGAPORE (Nov 27): Restaurant chain operator Jumbo Group reported a 5.9% increase in full-year earnings to $11.7 million for FY2019 ended September, from $11.0 million a year ago.

This translated to earnings per share (EPS) of 1.8 cents for FY2019, compared to EPS of 1.7 cents in FY2018.

The improvement is despite FY2019 revenue coming in flat at $153.6 million, a marginal 0.1% lower than a year ago.

Revenue from the group’s Singapore operations increased by $4.0 million on the back of two new Jumbo Seafood restaurants – a new Zui Yu Xuan Teochew Cuisine restaurant and a new Chao Ting Teochew Pao Fan outlet.

However, the increase was negated by a S4.1 million decline in revenue from its restaurants in China.

The group also incurred an estimated loss of revenue of $1.2 million due to a 4-week renovation at the Jumbo Seafood Gallery outlet in Singapore.

However, gross profit rose 1.4% to $97.9 million, as cost of sales fell 2.5% to $55.7 million. Gross profit margin rose 1 percentage point to 63.8% in FY2019.

As at end-September, cash and cash equivalents stood at $46.6 million.

The board has proposed a final dividend of 0.7 cents per share, the same as a year ago.

Together with the interim dividend of 0.5 cents per share paid earlier, this brings the total dividend payout for FY2019 to 1.2 cents per share, amounting to approximately 66.0% of FY2019 PATMI.

Despite continued headwinds such as operating cost pressures and competition, the group says it is confident that it will be able to navigate the challenges and remain stable.

While its Singapore operations are expected to remain the pillar in its earnings growth, the group says it plans to add new franchised Jumbo Seafood restaurants in Thailand, Vietnam and China over the next 12 months.

It also intends to introduce the Ng Ah Sio Bak Kut Teh brand in China, as well as add more of these outlets in Taiwan.

“While the group continues to extend its geographical footprint, we are guided by the principle of sustainable growth, and recognize the need to prudently balance the costs with our expansion plans,” says Ang Kiam Meng, Jumbo’s executive director and group CEO.

As at 9.30am, shares in Jumbo are trading 1 cent higher, or up 2.7%, at 38 cents.