The Good And The Bad: Important Takeaways From Fraser and Neave Limited’s Latest Earnings

Fraser and Neave Limited (SGX: F99) is a conglomerate with three main business segments, namely, Beverages, Dairies, and Printing & Publishing.

In early May, the company, which is better known as F&N, released its earnings for the second quarter and first half of its fiscal year ending 30 September 2017 (FY2017). There are both positive and negative takeaways from the announcement that investors may want to learn about. Let’s take a look, starting with an overview of the numbers:

1. The overall result

Here’s a table showing some of the important items from F&N’s income statement for the second quarters of FY2017 and FY2016:

Source: F&N FY2017 second quarter earnings release

You can see that the second quarter of FY2017 (the three months ended 31 March 2017) wasn’t a good one for F&N as there were declines in its revenue, profit after tax, and profit attributable to shareholders.

2. The negatives

Firstly, F&N’s Beverage segment was impacted mainly by lower sales volume and an increase in input costs. In the reporting quarter, the segment recorded a 21.5% decline in revenue and also turned in a loss before interest and taxes of S$5.2 million, which is a sharp reversal from a profit before interest and taxes of S$9.1 million.

Secondly, the Printing & Publishing segment continued its loss-making streak from the second quarter of FY2016. To the point, the segment delivered a loss before interest and taxes of S$5.6 million in the reporting quarter, compared to a loss before interest and taxes of S$6.5 million. The Printing & Publishing segment’s revenue was also down 4.5% year-on-year. The segment’s weak performance was driven partly by a reduction in print volumes.

3. The positives

Firstly, for the reporting quarter, the Dairies segment saw its revenue and profit before interest and taxes grow; the former increased by 2.4% year-on-year to $271.6 million while the latter soared 41.7% to $39.8 million. The Dairies segment had benefitted from favourable changes in milk-based input costs.

Secondly, F&N increased its stake in the Vietnam-based Vinamilk to 18.74% as of 8 May 2017. F&N had also managed to secure the right to appoint two representatives to Vinamilk’s board of directors. This level of control has allowed F&N to qualify Vinamilk as an associate in its financial statements.

Moreover, the deeper relationship with Vinamilk now allows F&N to further expand into the Vietnam dairy market, which is currently dominated by Vinamilk.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Lawrence Nga doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.