SINGAPORE (Jan 10): Duty Free International (DFI) saw its earnings plunge 84.7% to RM 3.3 million ($1.1 million) for the third quarter ended November 2017, down from RM 21.2 million a year ago.

This was mainly due to a net loss of RM 7.5 million in foreign exchange in 3Q18, compared to a net foreign exchange gain of RM 9.6 million a year ago, as a result of the strengthening of the Malaysian ringgit against the Singapore dollar and US dollar.

Revenue in 3Q18 was stable at RM 133.5 million, up marginally from RM 133.0 million a year ago. The improvement was mainly due to increase in demand for certain products and sales mix.

As at end November 2017, cash and cash equivalents stood at RM 267.6 million.

DFI has declared an interim dividend of 1 cent per share for the period, which will be paid on Mar 6, 2018.

This is 20% lower than the interim dividend of 1.25 cent per share paid in the corresponding period a year ago.

Looking ahead, DFI says the retail industry it operates in is expected to continue to remain challenging given the current economic conditions, a volatile US dollar versus Malaysian ringgit exchange rate, coupled with a competitive business environment and weak consumer sentiment.

It adds that it will continue its efforts in managing risks prudently as well as improving operational efficiency and cost control measures so as to remain competitive and profitable in the remaining quarter of FY18.

Shares of Duty Free International closed flat at 27.5 cents on Wednesday.