Want-Want sees strong first quarter

By Dominique Patton

- Last updated on GMT

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New confectionery products and strong demand for beverages lifted
sales at Taiwan's Want Want Holdings by 28 per cent during the
first quarter, while higher margins helped it reduce the impact of
rising sugar prices.

Each of the group's core divisions had higher sales during the first three months of the year, but the growth was particularly strong in beverages - up 41 per cent to US$66.7 million - and 'other snacks', which rose 46 per cent to US$70.4 million, thanks to the introduction of new products such as milk candies and cup jellies.

"The addition of higher margin new products negated the negative impact from higher raw materials costs such as sugar,"​ Want Want said in a results announcement.

There was also better performance from existing snack products, it said.

Beverage sales are being driven by the core product "Hot-kid" milk, said the company.

Rice cracker sales also grew, by a more modest 9 per cent to US$76.11 million, with growth coming particularly from the Chinese market.

Indeed, China - accounting for more than 90 per cent of the group's revenue - recorded double digit sales growth, rising 32.1 per cent during the quarter, compared to a year ago.

Turnover in other countries showed a marked difference however. Sales to Taiwan declined 2.2 per cent while profit before tax decreased 55.6 per cent because of lower capacity utilization and higher operating expenses.

Turnover in other regions decreased 3.1 per cent as certain countries, such as United States, experienced slower sales.

Overall, net profit at the group climbed by 34.4 per cent year-on-year to US$38.78 million, thanks to good sales growth and higher margins. Profit before tax in the 'other snacks' division was up 69.6 per cent to US$19 million while in beverages it climbed 65.6 per cent to US$17 million on higher turnover.

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