Thailand: Costs, beer weigh on ThaiBev’s full-year profits

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Chang beer sales rise, but ThaiBev says division still in red
Higher selling costs and ongoing losses in beer pinned back ThaiBev’s profits in 2010, despite a strong rise in sales.
ThaiBev’s operating profits fell by 3% for the 12 months to the end of December, to THB15bn (US$489m), as higher raw materials costs eroded gains from a 12% increase in net sales, to THB121.3bn.
Further losses in the Chang brewer’s beer business also constrained the Thailand-based drinks maker during the year. The beer division’s losses equalled those of the previous year, at THB1.6bn, versus profits of THB338m in 2008.
However, lower finance charges helped ThaiBev to increase its full-year net profits by 1%, to THB10.72bn, which prompted a 6% increase in the group’s annual dividend payment.
ThaiBev’s president and CEO, Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, concentrated on the company’s top-line performance. “We have seen stronger sales across all our business segments, boosted by the marketing and growth strategies that have been rolled out throughout the year,” he said.
Despite the beer division’s ongoing losses, the business reported a 12% increase in net sales to THB33.7bn. The rise reflected strong demand for Chang across Asia and the US, although it was not enough to claw back all the ground lost from the group’s 30% drop in beer sales between 2008 and 2009.
Spirits sales also rose in 2010, by 10.5% to THB77bn.