SINGAPORE (May 9): Maxi-Cash reported 1Q19 earnings of $2.8 million, 55% higher than $1.8 million in 1Q18.

Revenue was however 13% lower at $46.6 million, compared to $53.9 million last year, primarily attributed to lower sales from the retail and trading of jewellery and branded merchandise business, which saw a 13.4% y-o-y decrease.

This was partially offset by an increase in revenue contribution from the pawnbroking business by about 3.6% y-o-y, primarily attributed to the higher interest income from its growing pledge book, while the secured lending business reported a 15.2% y-o-y increase in revenue.

Material costs declined by 20% to $28.5 million from $35.6 million a year ago.

Other operating expenses was cut by 48% to $4.6 million from $8.8 million last year, mainly due to decrease in foreign currency exchange loss and rental expenses.

Depreciation and amortisation saw a significant increase to $2.7 million from just $0.5 million in the previous year, mainly due to the recognition of right-of-use assets following the adoption of SFRS(I) 16 Leases.

As at end-March, the group’s cash and cash equivalents stood at $15.3 million.

On the outlook, the Singapore economy is projected to expand at a slower pace this year on the back of slowing global growth. This in turn is expected to further impact consumer sentiment.

The group believes that this coupled with keen competition, rising interest rates, higher operating costs, volatile gold prices and foreign currency exchange rates, will continue to pose challenges to its lending and retail businesses.

Shares in Maxi-Cash closed at 14 cents on Thursday.