China Resources Enterprise, Limited on Thursday announced its unaudited quarterly financial and operational review for the three months ended 31 March 2011. The Group?s core businesses, including the retail, beer, food and beverage divisions, generated consolidated turnover of HK$26,671 million and consolidated profit attributable to the Company?s shareholders of HK$826 million, representing increases of 26.4% and 15.4% year-on-year respectively. Excluding the after-tax profit of asset revaluation and major disposals, the Group’s underlying consolidated profit attributable to the Company?s shareholders from the core businesses would have increased by 34.4% year-on-year to HK$660 million.
The Group’s beer division reported a turnover of HK$4,902 million and earnings of HK$20 million for the first quarter of 2011, representing year-on-year increases of 20.1% and 5.3% respectively. The Group’s total beer sales volume increased by 10.3% to approximately 1,908,000 kiloliters in the first quarter of 2011. Benefiting from a series of unique marketing campaigns that further enhanced its brand image, the sales volume of the Group’s national brand “?? Snow” increased by 11.2% to approximately 1,725,000 kiloliters, accounting for more than 90% of the Group?s total beer sales volume.
The rapid increase in the cost of primary and secondary raw materials, higher labour costs and taxes such as the Urban Maintenance and Construction Tax and Education Surcharges imposed on foreign enterprises increased the operating costs. Nevertheless, the beer division strove to lift the sales of premium beers and optimize its product mix in order to improve its average selling prices and relieve cost pressure. As at the end of March 2011, the Group operated over 70 breweries in China, which altogether had an aggregate annual production capacity of more than 14,600,000 kiloliters.
The Group?s beverage division reported a turnover of HK$567 million and earnings of HK$10 million for the first quarter of 2011, representing year-on-year increases of 49.2% and 42.9% respectively. With its flagship purified water brand “?? C?estbon”, the division?s total sales volume rose by 40% to approximately 522,000 kiloliters. During the quarter under review, the division rapidly expanded its market coverage in Jiangxi, Yunnan and Henan. In the more established markets such as Guangdong, Sichuan, Hunan and Jiangsu, the division achieved sustained growth in sales volume through continuously enhancing its distribution channel management. To tackle rising raw material costs, the division made appropriate adjustments to its sales strategy in Sichuan and Guangdong to encourage distributors to stock up more products, which led to notable growth in sales volume.
In view of the huge growth potential in China?s fast-developing beverage market, the Group has established a joint venture with Kirin Holdings Company, Limited that is 60% owned by the Group. The two companies would each inject their respective existing non-alcoholic beverage operations in China into the joint venture. The Group is confident that this joint venture will facilitate the division to become a powerful contender in China?s non-alcoholic beverage market.
Mr. Qiao Shibo, Chairman of China Resources Enterprise, Limited, said, “The Group’s sustained growth in the first quarter of 2011 has enhanced the leading position of our consumer businesses in China. Looking ahead, we expect China’s consumer market to remain promising. We will actively pursue both acquisition opportunities and organic growth so as to further strengthen our core businesses.”