SINGAPORE (Nov 25): Thai Beverage posted a 30% jump in full-year earnings to 23.27 billion baht ($1.05 billion) for FY2019 ended September, from 17.94 billion baht a year ago.

This translated to earnings per share (EPS) of 0.93 baht in FY2019, compared to EPS of 0.71 baht in FY2018.

FY2019 revenue rose 16% to 267.36 billion baht, from 229.70 billion baht a year ago.

The higher revenue was led by an 8.6% an increase in sales of spirits business to 115.0 million baht and a 26.6% rise in sales from its beer business to 119.6 million baht.

Sales for its non-alcoholic beverages and food businesses also grew 7.5% and 17.3%, respectively.

Operating profit climbed 24% to 25.56 billion baht in FY2019, from 19.84 billion baht a year ago.

ThaiBev’s FY2019 bottom line would have been higher if not for a provision of 798.5 million baht for past service cost for employee benefit, arising from an amendment of the Labour Protection Act, which become effective from May 5, 2019.

Finance costs was 44% higher at 7.15 billion baht in FY2019, compared to 4.96 billion baht a year ago.

Share of profit of investment in associates and joint ventures grew 27% to 4.85 billion baht in FY2019, from 3.82 billion baht a year ago.

There was also the absence of a 2.46 billion baht cost relating to business acquisition in FY2018.

As at end-September, cash and cash equivalents stood at 9.63 billion baht, excluding another 14.73 billion baht in current investments.

The board has declared a full-year dividend of 0.48 baht per share for FY2019, including an interim dividend of 0.15 baht per share paid earlier.  

The remaining dividend of 0.33 baht will be payable on Feb 28, 2020.

The annual dividend of 0.48 baht per share is 23% higher than the annual dividend of 0.39 baht in FY2018.

However, this represents a pay-out ratio of 51.61% for FY2019, lower than the pay-out ratio of 54.93% a year ago.

In a regulatory filing on Nov 22, the group says Thailand’s domestic alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage industry improved in 2019 due to the increase in domestic demand on the back of stimulus measures.

These include state welfare smartcards to assist low-income earners, loans for farmers affected by droughts, the income guarantee scheme for farmers, low-rate mortgage loans via Government Housing Bank, and the Chim Shop-Chai (Eat-Shop-Spend) programme, which have helped to boost consumer purchasing power.

Shares in ThaiBev closed 2 cents lower, or down 2.2%, at 89 cents on Friday, before the results announcement.