Food and beverage manufacturer and distributor Yeo Hiap Seng reported a loss of $6.7 million for 1H20 ended June. This is a stark comparison from its earnings of $14.6 million in 1H19.

The group attributed the loss to the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns in key markets around the world and the absence of one-off gains from the sales of properties recorded in the same period last year.  

Excluding the one-off gain of $14.1 million realised in 1H19 on asset disposals and fair value gains on financial assets, net loss from core operations would come up to $6.7 million in 1H20 compared with net profit of $0.5 million in 1H19.

Revenue for the period was down 12.8% to $162.5 million from $186.4 million, driven by softness in consumer spending and disruptions in operations and sales channels due to Covid-19.

During the period under review, operations of food and beverage outlets in key markets were also significantly disrupted as governments imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The Group saw a decline in sales in most markets except Greater China.

As at end-June, the group’s cash and cash equivalents stood at $276.8 million.

The group did not declare any dividend for this period, as compared to a special dividend of 1 cent per share that was declared in the same period last year. 

Samuel Koh, group CEO of Yeo Hiap Seng says, “On the positive side, sales of our evergreen food portfolio grew and helped cushion the decline in sales of beverages. Moreover, sales have picked up in markets that have partially lifted lockdown measures and we believe this momentum will improve if and when more countries open up their economies and ease restrictions.”

“As we navigate this unprecedented crisis, we have to remain focussed on improving our commercial and supply fundamentals while driving productivity and mitigating the negative impact of Covid-19. At the same time, we continue to look for ways to serve our community and bring the magic back to this iconic brand,” Koh adds.

Koh is the group’s new CEO who took over Melvin Teo on Mar 14 earlier this year. Under Koh’s leadership, he has started the group’s transformation journey by building organisational capabilities with leadership renewals in key markets and key functions, making changes to management of sales channels, improving supply chain resilience and driving productivity.

Shares in Yeo Hiap Seng closed at 82 cents on Aug 7.