Hong Kong based conglomerate Jardine Matheson Holdings has reported seeing “encouraging improvement” in many of its businesses in the third quarter over this time last year.

However, challenges caused by the pandemic persists.

“Conditions are expected to remain uncertain across the Group’s markets for the remainder of the year,” says Jardine Matheson in its interim management update.

“Nevertheless, the group remains resilient and well-positioned to achieve its long-term growth objectives, with a strong balance sheet and liquidity position,” it adds.

Dairy Farm International Holdings, one of the Jardine subsidiaries, says in its own update that the third quarter’s performance remains lower than this time last year, in the absence of panic buying and government support.

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DFI runs networks of supermarkets, convenient stores and other consumer-facing businesses across the region.

“Despite the challenges posed by Covid-19, the group has continued to execute its key transformation and growth initiatives in the quarter,” states DFI.

“In both Hong Kong and Singapore, the Group has continued to upgrade its upscale store network,” the company adds.

The company’s grocery retail business saw lower revenue and profitability.

Its convenience store business reported higher sales and underlying earnings over the first half of the year.

DFI’s health and beauty businesses enjoyed better sales but remains below the pandemic levels, as Hong Kong’s border remains restricted.

As for its home furnishing business, sales dropped versus the same period last year.

DFI expects the rest of 2021 to be “challenging”, although it is “encouraged” by the momentum of its multi-year transformation and “is confident that it is delivering sustainable improvements to the business over time which will drive medium- to long-term growth.”

Hongkong Land, Jardine Matheson’s Singapore listed property subsidiary, says it performed “relatively well” thanks to its portfolio of high quality and uniquely positioned assets.

Even with fewer visitors, Hongkong Land’s retail sales increased in 3Q sequentially over 2Q, and also over 3QFY2020.

It was able to achieve higher renewal rates from its Singapore tenants.

However, its development activities, mainly in China, was weaker in 3Q relative to the first two quarters, amidst “tightened credit conditions” for the property sector. “Contracted sales at the group’s projects, however, remained in line with expectations,” Jardine Matheson adds.

Jardine C&C, which distributes motor vehicles, “performed well”, thanks to improvements across its whole portfolio. Its underlying earnings in 3Q “recovered substantially” over 3QFY2020, although 9MFY2021 was still “slightly lower” y-o-y.

Last but not least, Mandarin Oriental International, is seeing continuous improvement in general trading conditions from 2Q to 3Q, although specific performance varies across markets.

However, across Asia, both occupancy levels and room rates remain low, except mainland China, where the large domestic market carries the day. The company’s properties in US and Europe, meanwhile, enjoyed “substantial” improvement because of relaxation of travel curbs.

Jardine Matheson shares close Nov 11 at US$60, unchanged for the day and up 7.14% year to date.

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