SINGPAPORE (April 26): Duty Free International posted a 14.9% drop in earnings to RM17.8 million ($5.7 million) for the fourth quarter ended Feb 28, from RM20.9 million a year ago.

This brings full-year earnings to RM72.7 million, a 17.8% increase from earnings of RM61.7 a year ago.

Revenue in 4Q fell 7.4% to RM150.0 million, from RM162.0 million in the corresponding quarter a year ago.

This was mainly due to a slowdown in tourism traffic to and from Thailand as a result of the flood in Southern Thailand during the quarter as well as the after-effects of the demise of Thai King Bhumibol in Oct 2016.

In addition, revenue was affected as a result of the imposition of a Goods and Services Tax at border outlets and duty free zones, which came into effect from Jan 1, 2017.

Cash and cash equivalents stood at RM261.5 million as at Feb 28, 2017.

“We continue to face the challenges of the current economy and the volatility of the USD-Ringgit exchange rate,” says DFI executive director Lee Sze Siang.

“As we continue to focus on improving our operational efficiency and better managing our costs, we are confident of overcoming the challenging and competitive business environment,” Lee adds.

Shares of Duty Free International closed half a cent lower at 41.5 cents on Wednesday.