Vitasoy Recorded a Consistent Business Growth with Acceleration across Categories and Geographies

HONG KONG, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — 

Year ended  31st March

2014

HK$ Mn

 

2013

HK$ Mn

(restated)

Change

%

Turnover

4,494

4,051

11

Gross profit

2,175

1,925

13

EBITDA

653

618

6

Profit before taxation

457

423

8

Profit after taxation

341

334

2

Profit attributable to equity 
      shareholders of the Company

307

301

2

Basic earnings per ordinary share
     
(HK cents)

29.8

29.4

1

Interim dividend per share
     
(HK cents)

3.2

3.2

0

Final dividend per share (HK cents)

17.0

16.6

2

Dividend per share (HK cents)

20.2

19.8

2

Vitasoy International Holdings Limited (“VIHL” or “the Group”) (SEHK Code: 0345), a Hong Kong-based manufacturer, marketer and distributor of non-carbonated beverages and food, today announced its audited annual results for the year ended 31stMarch 2014.

During the year, VIHL recorded a consistent strong growth of 11% in net sales to HK$4,494 million and achieved acceleration across core categories and markets. The gross margin increased 13% to HK$2,175 million, while profit attributable to equity shareholders improved by 2% to HK$307 million. The Group maintained its gross profit margin at last year’s level of 48% attributed by the use of tactful pricing strategy and improved manufacturing efficiency.

“We forged ahead our business with strong execution focusing on core brands and key products despite a slower macroeconomic growth and rising commodity and labour costs. During the year, we focused our investment and innovation in our core categories of Soy/Plant Milk, Tofu and Tea and introduced more nutritional products to appeal to consumer needs. In terms of geographical development, our Mainland China business has accelerated gradually, while Hong Kong and Australia continued to sustain their performance and local leadership position. The North American have successfully restored profitability and Singapore operations maintained the business growth,” said Mr. Winston Yau-lai Lo, Executive Chairman of VIHL.

Basic earnings per ordinary share were HK$29.8 cents for the period. The Board of Directors of VIHL proposed the payment of a final dividend of HK$17.0 cents per ordinary share (FY2012/13: HK$16.6 cents per ordinary share) for the year ended 31stMarch 2014. Together with the interim dividend of HK$3.2 cents per ordinary share, the total dividend per ordinary share amounted to HK$20.2 cents (FY2012/13: HK$19.8 cents per ordinary share).

Business Review

Hong Kong Consistent growth driven by focusing on core categories and in-store execution

The Hong Kong operation reported a 6% sales growth to HK$1,899 million. The Group’s efforts in growing its soy milk and ready-to-drink tea categories have resulted in a stronger market leadership position. VITASOY CALCI-PLUS have reported the strongest sales growth within soy category, whilst SANSUI achieving the leadership position in the fresh soy drink segment. In the last financial year, Vitasoy Hong Kong’s operating profit grew by 9% to HK$348 million.

In terms of new product and packaging, the Hong Kong operation has recently launched a new PET packaging for VITASOY soymilk and an innovative VITA Hong Kong Style Milk Tea to expand the Tea offerings.

The operating profit of Vitaland Group, a subsidiary of VIHL in school tuck shop business, has grown profitably, primarily driven by its dedicated efforts in driving new school accounts and school renewals, improved product mix and better planning labour and raw materials.

Mr. Roberto Guidetti, VIHL Group Chief Executive Officer, said, “We will keep strengthening our leadership position of our core brands across channels and packaging formats. Packaging innovation, brand execution and distribution expansion are crucial to further drive the growth of our core categories.”

Mainland China — Acceleration via innovation, execution and expansion

The Mainland China business maintained its strong growth momentum in the midst of a challenging operating environment and reported a 28% increase in net sales revenue to HK$1,505 million and 19% growth in operating profit to HK$145 million respectively. The “Go Deep, Go Wide” strategy has driven the Group’s growth in business and making inroads into new territories, such as Jiangsu, Anhui, Hebei, Wuhan and Fujian.

During the year, Vitasoy China focused on unifying the VITASOY regional programs into a national one and rolled out a new communication campaign emphasising the product’s unique functional benefits. In addition, a brand restage program which used new packaging graphics harmonizing with Hong Kong’s VITASOY brand equities has increased the brand awareness in Mainland China.

On the product front, the operation’s renewed execution and expansion of VITA Lemon Tea has resulted in the strong growth beyond the previous Guangdong borders and successfully adding a new revenue stream for VIHL.

“We will continue to accelerate business growth using our proven business model in Mainland China and focus on delivering a sustainable performance. We will also strengthen our execution, expansion and innovation in order to drive growth and build brand visibility, and raise the operational capabilities of our production bases,” said Mr. Guidetti.

Australia and New Zealand — Solid growth behind VITASOY restage, offset by weakened Australia dollar

Vitasoy Australia reported a 7% increase in sales revenue and 9% increase in operating profit in Australian dollar respectively. However, as impacted by currency depreciation, the operation recorded a decrease of 5% to HK$492 million in revenue and a drop of 1% to HK$87 million in operating profit.

During the year under review, the operation restaged its core Organic VITASOY range by leveraging the Australian grown whole bean proposition. Launch of new product packaging and an integrated TV campaign has helped the brand securing its number 1 position in the Soymilk market.  In addition, the VITASOY Oatmilk range has also been leading the market share in the category. Vitasoy has introduced a new “Organic” variant of CAFE for BARISTAS in the premium cafe market.

“Looking ahead, we will continue to bring innovative products, focus on the execution in grocery channels and drive the growth in coffee channels,” Mr. Guidetti added.

North America — Sustaining top line growth whilst restoring profitability

Vitasoy USA recorded a 6% increase in net sales revenue to HK$513 million and reported an operating profit of HK$7 million, mainly attributed by the volume growth and improved manufacturing and logistic efficiency.

During the year, the operation restaged NASOYA Tofu and launched a new packaging design. Vitasoy USA has secured a strong year of solid sales growth across all business channels and expanded the leading market position in both the US Tofu and Asian Pasta categories.

Mr. Guidetti said, “With our improved business base, we will continue to improve profitability of our North American business. We will increase our efforts in launching new value-added products in both Asian and mainstream markets and consumer communication campaigns. We will also continue our focus on further optimizing the manufacturing efficiency and reducing operating costs.”

Singapore — Maintaining leadership, strengthening operations and increasing profitability

Unicurd, the Group’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Singapore, reported a 2% growth in net sales revenue to HK$85 million and 14% increase in operating profit to HK$8 million, attributed by a profitable product and channel mix as well as higher manufacturing efficiency. Unicurd will continue scaling up, adding important innovations and expanding the VITASOY franchise to drive business acceleration.

Outlook

Mr. Winston Lo, Executive Chairman of VIHL, concluded, “Our growth in FY2013/2014 has given us a strong and solid base for future development. We are confident that our growth will continue to benefit from the tailwinds of healthy trend and the demand for nutritious foods, despite a mixed global macroeconomic outlook. In the coming year, we will focus on our cores, which comprise our commitment to product quality, brand equity, our expanded infrastructure, and the readiness and competence of our people, through execution, expansion and innovation, to secure a long term success.”  

Chongqing Further Develops Liangjiang New Area

CHONGQING, China, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As the first state-level new special economic development zone in inland China, Chongqing Liangjiang New Area welcomed a new batch of major project contracts on June 18. A total of 43 major projects with …

International SOS provides advice for a healthy Ramadan

BEIJING, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/  International SOS is providing travellers and expatriates with seven key tips for staying healthy during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

Dr Salwan Ibrahim, Deputy Regional Medical Director for the Middle East Region at International SOS, said:

“The holy month of Ramadan is an important time for Muslims worldwide. It is a time of reflection, devotion to God and self-control. From a medical point of view it is important to stay healthy during this period. That means staying hydrated, eating wisely, and making sure to take sufficient rest.”

Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan. This year the holy month falls during the hot season in the Middle East and North Africa and during the time of year with the longest hours of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere.

Dr Ibrahim said:

“The main risks of fasting are low blood sugar and dehydration, and with Ramadan falling during the height of summer, it’s important that people are particularly aware of the risks this year. Fasters should adopt routines gradually and be moderate in their eating and drinking habits during the hours of darkness. Business travellers and expatriates should consider the advice regardless of whether they are working in one fixed location or if they are on the move”

International SOS’ seven tips for the Holy Month are:

  1. Eat moderately at Iftar – When breaking the fast it is important to avoid large intakes of sugar and fatty foods, which can disturb the metabolism and cause dizziness, headaches and fatigue. Break the fast with dates and yoghurt, water and fruit juice and then wait 10 minutes before consuming a sensible portion of further food, which should be rich in minerals.
  2. Make sure to eat Suhour – With sunrise occurring early in the Northern Hemisphere on the year’s longest days, there is a temptation to sleep or simply drink water rather than rising to eat a proper Suhour. International SOS’ doctors advise that it is better always to eat Suhour, and to choose complex carbohydrates such as whole-grain bread, barley and lentils to provide energy throughout the day of fasting ahead.
  3. Get sufficient sleep – The holy month of Ramadan is a time of increased prayer and gatherings of family and friends. Frequently this can mean less opportunity to sleep during the night. Fasters should make sure to get eight hours of sleep in every 24 hour period, even if this is split into several separate periods of rest.
  4. Adapt your exercise routine – It is still possible to follow weight loss and exercise routines during the Holy Month of Ramadan. However, exercise plans should be moderated to allow for the change in eating patterns. Fasters should concentrate on lighter exercises, such as brisk walking, and pay particular attention to the time of day they choose to take exercise; International SOS recommends waiting 2-3 hours after breaking fast before a work-out.
  5. Managing medication and chronic illness – Fasters with chronic health conditions should consult a doctor for advice on how fasting may affect their health. As a general rule, medication usually taken at breakfast can be taken at Iftar, whilst medications usually taken at dinner can be taken at Suhour. Diabetics should consult a physician for advice on how they can continue to take Insulin and should monitor blood sugar carefully around mealtimes.
  6. Plan workload carefully – Although in many countries work hours are reduced during Ramadan, it is advisable to plan workloads to minimise fatigue. Work that requires heavy concentration should be carried out in the early morning hours. Where possible, working fasters should work at intervals throughout the day to avoid unnecessary strain rather than attempting one long work period.
  7. Be extra cautious on the road – Low blood sugar from fasting can seriously affect fasters’ capabilities and concentration behind the wheel. In many Muslim countries, traffic will be heavy in the hour before sunset, as people return home to break the fast. Traffic accidents tend to peak at this time. Avoid road travel later in the day whenever possible and exercise extra caution if travel is required. This may include choosing to travel with a passenger who can help keep the driver alert. It is always better to take regular breaks rather than continuing to drive for long periods of time whilst drowsy or otherwise impaired.

Walmart to Sponsor Food Fraud Prevention Online Course In China

BEIJING, June 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Walmart has agreed to sponsor the translation of a Food Fraud Prevention online course to the Mandarin language. The course was developed by Dr. John Spink, Professor at Michigan State University (MSU) and Director of the University’s Food Fraud Initiative. Dr. Spink, a recognized expert in this area, has joined Walmart in their efforts to help customers, regulators, suppliers and retailers increase public awareness of food fraud prevention in China and prevent food fraud through joint efforts in the market.

MSU’s first Food Fraud Prevention Overview was originally conducted in May of 2013 and it has only been offered in English. Since its debut, the massive open online course (MOOC) has seen over 800 participants from 48 countries take in the free course. Following the first MOOC, there has been great interest in follow-up courses and translation into other languages. The Walmart sponsorship of the first language translation of the MOOC into Mandarin is a critical next step in protecting against food fraud and improving the global food supply chain.

This two-week MOOC is offered free to anyone, anywhere, who has Internet access. The first Mandarin version of the two-week course will be offered in two sections, on August 5 and August 12. It is especially targeted to be a tool to help food companies in China further strengthen their food fraud prevention and surveillance programs.

Participants of the MOOC will gain important insights into the reasons food fraud continues to be a major issue in the global supply chain. The course will draw on a wide range of current experience and expertise, infusing many real-world applications and problem-solving exercises that will provide a framework for success in the future.

Frank Yiannas, Vice President of Food Safety for Walmart said, “At Walmart, we take the issue of food fraud very seriously. Because prevention of food fraud is a shared responsibility and education is a key to deterrence, Walmart is delighted to be able to help Michigan State University make the course more broadly available to regulatory officials, industry professionals, consumers and other stakeholders in China.”  

Dr. Spink said, “We are grateful for forwardthinking companies like Walmart who are working, and investing in, improving the safety of the world’s foods.” He elaborated that, “When we rapidly expand the education and awareness building at this early stage in the development of the science, we can more efficiently establish a starting point and trajectory of our actions.”

“Food fraud has been recognized as a common challenge not only for retailers but also the whole supply chain, Walmart China Chief Compliance Office Paul Gallemore said. “As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart intends to leverage global food safety expertise and best practices to help our suppliers address the problem together in order to provide even greater assurance of food product quality, authenticity and safety to our customers.”

The retailer recently announced they are continuing to invest heavily in food safety for China with their total investment for 2013, 2014 and 2015 reaching 300 million Yuan. A portion of this investment has been heavily focused on supplier training and management. Walmart is helping suppliers understand and comply not only with China’s regulations, but the company’s extensive and rigorous food safety policies. Meanwhile, the company will perform additional testing and tougher standards for suppliers in 2014, increasing DNA testing on meat products by 100 percent and facility audits and inspections of primary producers by more than 30 percent from 2013. Walmart China has also taken a zero-tolerance policy on food fraud.

Malaysia economic monitor : boosting trade competitiveness

advanced economies, annual growth, asset sales, Bank Office, banking sector, banking system, benchmark, benchmark interest rate, bill, buffers, capital flows, capital   See More + goods, capital goods imports, capital markets, capital outflows, capital ratio, central bank, commodities, Commodity, commodity exports, Commodity prices, Communication Technology, comparative advantage, Consensus forecasts, consumer goods, Consumer price inflation, consumption growth, Corporate income taxes, credit cards, currency assets, currency swaps, current account, current account balance, current account surplus, current accounts, debt, debt securities, deposits, Developing countries, developing country, developing economies, Development Economics, Development Finance, Development Policy, development strategies, dividend, Dollar Value, domestic competition, domestic conditions, domestic currency, Domestic demand, domestic demand growth, drag on growth, Economic Cooperation, Economic Developments, Economic Outlook, economic performance, Economic Research, emerging economies, emerging market, emerging markets, energy exports, Entry Point, equities, equity market, equity markets, Export growth, export market, export performance, exporters, Exposure, External demand, External Trade, Federal Reserve, Financial Crisis, Financial Institutions, financial market, Financial sector, financial services, fiscal consolidation, fixed capital, fixed investment, fixed investments, flexible exchange rate, flexible exchange rate regime, food prices, Forecasts, foreign currencies, foreign currency, foreign currency assets, Foreign direct investment, Foreign investors, foreign markets, Foreign value, Free Trade, Free Trade Agreement, Free Trade Agreements, futures, GDP, GDP per capita, Global Economic Prospects, global economy, Global portfolio, Global Trade, government deficit, government securities, Gross Domestic Product, Gross fixed capital formation, Gross National Income, Growth in trade, growth rate, growth rates, high-income countries, imbalances, Import, import content, import demand, imports, income growth, Income Tax, incomes, Inflation, inflation rate, Inflationary pressures, Information Technology, Intellectual Property, interest rates, international capital, international capital markets, International Cooperation, International Labour Organization, international reserves, International Trade, inventories, ITC, labor force, Labor Market, labor markets, leverage, liberalization, local currency, loose monetary policies, M3, macroeconomic stability, market conditions, market pressures, market share, market shares, Middle Income Countries, monetary conditions, Monetary Fund, monetary policies, Monetary policy, mortgage, mortgage debt, mortgage loans, Multinational Corporation, National Income, Net capital, net exports, nominal depreciation, oil exports, oil prices, Output gap, pensions, Personal Computer, portfolio, Portfolio flows, Portfolio Investment, portfolios, potential output, price hikes, price index, private consumption, private investment, productivity growth, Property Rights, public investment, Public-Private Partnership, re-exports, Real Effective Exchange Rate, real estate, Real GDP, real interest rate, Real wage growth, Regional trade, Regional trade agreements, risk management, securities market, Settlement, short-term external debt, Skills Shortage, Skills Shortages, slowdown, spare capacity, supply conditions, tariff barriers, Tax, tax hikes, tax revenues, total exports, total revenue, TRADE COMPETITIVENESS, trade negotiations, Trade Restrictiveness, uncertainty, unemployment, unemployment rate, Value Added, volatility, wage growth, wages, working capital, World Development Indicators, World Trade, World Trade Organization, WTO  See Less –

Speech by YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism & …

SPEECH BY

YB DATO’ SERI MOHAMED NAZRI BIN TAN SRI ABDUL AZIZ
Minister of Tourism & Culture, Malaysia

Signing Of Memorandum of Understanding Between Ministry of Tourism And Culture, Malaysia And Visa

Shangri-La Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
25 June 2014 (Wednesday), 3.00 pm


Salam Sejahtera dan Salam 1 Malaysia

(Salutations to be provided by organizing secretariat)

YBrs. Encik Rashidi Hasbullah
Deputy Secretary General (Tourism Industry), Ministry of Tourism and Culture

YBhg. Dato’ Mirza Mohammad Taiyab
Director General, Tourism Malaysia

Mr. Ruben Salazar Genovez
Vice President, Consumer Product, VISA Worldwide Pte. Limited

Mr Ng Kong Boon
Country Manager, VISA Malaysia

Esteemed members of the media

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

1. Let me begin by expressing sincere apologies from YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Sri Abdul Aziz, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia for not being able to be with us this afternoon as he is currently attending some other urgent matters. YB Dato’ Seri conveys his warm greetings and best wishes to all of you at this ceremony. I shall now read this speech on behalf of YB Dato’ Seri Mohamed Nazri Tan Sri Abdul Aziz.

2. A very good afternoon to everyone gathered here today to witness the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and VISA Worldwide (VISA). Through this smart partnership, VISA will be designated as the Official Card for the Visit Malaysia Year 2014, and the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

3. Today’s historic occasion is truly significant as by having Visa on board as Malaysia’s strategic partner, this will certainly assist in further promoting Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015 to the rest of the world. Subsequently, this partnership will provide us with limitless opportunities to reach out to an unprecedented global audience through VISA’s global network. This strategic partnership with VISA is an initiative under the National Blue Ocean Strategy or NBOS.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

4. The tourism industry is a prime contributor to the socio-economic development of the nation. Tourism is the second largest foreign-exchange earner after manufactured goods and the sixth largest component in the Malaysia economy in 2013, moving up one spot compared to 2012 with a contribution of RM51.5 billion to the Gross National Income (GNI) in 2013.

5. This is the result of the strong performance above expectations in 2013, with tourist receipts of RM65.44 billion exceeding the target of RM65 billion. The 8.1% growth from RM60.56 billion in 2012, represents an expansion of about RM4.89 billion in foreign exchange earnings. Despite a challenging year, tourist arrivals also grew by 2.7% to 25.7 million arrivals compared to 25.0 million arrivals in 2012.

6. At this juncture, I would like to reiterate that Malaysia welcomed a total of 7.09 million tourists for the first quarter of 2014, registering a hike of 10% compared to 6.45 million tourists for the same period last year.

7. In line with our iconic brand, ‘Malaysia Truly Asia’ our unique selling point is not only in terms of our rich cultural and heritage diversity but also the harmony, stability and warmth of Malaysian hospitality. The many tourism landscapes, abundance of biodiversity and unique blend of cultural heritage, cuisine, arts, crafts and architecture, have always put Malaysia on the map as a must-visit global destination.

8. It is for this reason we have embarked on this strategic partnership between Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia and VISA. This partnership will allow us to showcase the best of what we have to offer during Visit Malaysia Year 2014 and the Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015.

9. In conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2014, we aim to achieve 28 million in international tourist arrivals and RM76 billion in tourist receipts. As for Malaysia Year of Festivals 2015, we aim to achieve 29.4 million tourist arrivals and RM89 billion in tourist receipts. With this smart partnership as witnessed today, I am confident, together we will achieve our targets.

10. As the host, we are showcasing more than 200 major events and activities throughout the year across the country for Visit Malaysia Year 2014. These major events include the Rainforest World Music Festival, Magic of the Night, 1Malaysia Mega Sales Carnival, 1Malaysia Contemporary Arts Festival and KL Arts & Cultural Festival: sharing with the world – our richly blessed cultures, arts, traditions, festivals, cuisines and bonds of nationhood of a country’s citizens that are so diverse in ethnicities, yet so united at heart.

11. Through our partnership, VISA will help us promote all these exciting events and festivals in our country throughout 2014 and 2015 to millions of people around the world. They will also highlight, through their various marketing and communications collaterals, the best travel packages and promotional offers that Malaysia has to offer during the period. Currently, VISA is promoting the Visit Malaysia Year 2014 campaign at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and also KLCC, the main shopping destination in the Klang Valley.

12. The Ministry of Tourism and Culture will be working very closely with VISA to identify events, festivals and attractions around the country that we can promote internationally. These include interesting, innovative and unique tourism experiences encompassing eco-tourism, golf-tourism, medical tourism, homestay experiences and lots more.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

13. One of the key challenges to promote our country as a preferred tourist destination is to deliver them the right information about our country. Travellers and holiday makers today are tech savvy, well-travelled and their exposure to tourists’ destinations is comprehensive. Their choices have grown and are ever-changing. They seek out information and want those information easily and quickly to make the right choices for themselves. The introduction of VISA’s Travel App is a fine example of how we can make technology work to achieve our goals.

14. With an application such as the VISA Travel App, tourists will be able obtain up to date information about Malaysia before and during their trips. These include useful information such as current events in the country, locations and directions to travel attractions, travel promotions, travel options and advice, festivals, and lots more. I believe this will indeed enhance tourists’ experience when visiting our country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

15. The road ahead is filled with many more challenges. Hence, it is important for us to strategize our plan forward and execute them to ensure Malaysia remains attractive and as one of the world’s most-preferred tourist destination. As such, it requires Malaysians to come together as one united nation, staying committed and dedicated to ensure our love for our country.

16. I would like to thank VISA for joining us in this national endeavour to promote Malaysia around the globe. I’m confident that this alliance will benefit both our organisations greatly.

Thank you.

Search for missing Malaysian plane shifts South

Search for missing Malaysian plane shifts South
Thu 26 Jun 2014 at 11:16

NNA – Investigators looking into the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane are confident the jet was on autopilot when it crashed in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean,…