SINGAPORE (Feb 20): Supermarket chain Sheng Siong Group reported full-year earnings of $75.7 million for FY2019 ended December, some 7.0% higher than FY2018 earnings of $70.8 million.

Earnings per share climbed to 5.04 cents for FY2019, from 4.70 cents in FY2018.

The full-year increase comes despite earnings for 4QFY2019 dipping 0.8% to $17.4 million, from $17.5 million a year ago.

Revenue for 4QFY2019 rose 11.8% to $247.9 million, led by contribution from new stores.

“Our store expansion plan in Singapore is progressing well where we have opened five new stores in 2019 and two new stores recently with a total additional retail area of 56,820 sq ft, bringing our total stores to 61,” says Lim Hock Chee, CEO of Sheng Siong.

Consequently, gross profit for the quarter increased 12.0% to $67.4 million.

However, 4QFY2019 earnings were partially offset by higher operating expenses, as administrative expenses rose 11.3% to $44.0 million and distribution expenses doubled to $2.7 million.

As at end December, cash and cash equivalents stood at $76.4 million.

The group’s net asset value per share stood at 20.83 cents as at Dec 31, 2019, compared to 19.30 cents a year ago.

Sheng Siong has proposed a final dividend of 1.80 cent per share for FY2019, to be paid on May 27, 2020. This is 2.9% higher than the final dividend of 1.75 cent per share paid a year ago.

This takes the group’s total dividend for FY2019 to 3.55 cents per share, equivalent to about 70.4% payout of its net profit after tax.

“Moving ahead, we will stay focused on looking for new retail spaces especially in areas where our potential customers reside with an aim in mind to expand our retail network in Singapore,” says Lim. “To achieve greater cost efficiency, we will improve the sales mix with a higher proportion of fresh produce and deriving more efficiency gains in the supply chain.”

“Our key priorities are nurturing the growth of our new stores in Singapore and China while enhancing the gross margin and lowering input cost remain as one of the core areas that we will be working on,” he adds.

Shares in Sheng Siong closed flat at $1.32 on Thursday before the results announcement.