Vitasoy Recorded a Strong Business Performance Driven by Focusing on Execution of Core Brands and Product Innovation

HONG KONG, June 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

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Vitasoy International Holdings Limited ("VIHL", "Vitasoy" or "the Group") (SEHK Code: 0345)  today reports a strong business performance for the financial year ended 31st March 2015. In FY2014/2015, the Group recorded a year-on-year growth of 12% in revenue and an increase of 21% in profit attributable to equity shareholders. The gross profit increased 15% while the gross profit margin has further increased to 50% (FY2013/2014: 48%).

"Our strong business performance reflects our effective business strategy and strong implementation of the Group's vision of accelerating our core via Execution, Expansion and Innovation. During the year, we focused on our core competence in the plant-based categories. We developed and launched new products with higher nutritional value and great taste. We grew our market share through brand building and strong execution. Geographically, the Hong Kong operation maintained healthy growth while Mainland China business continued to perform robustly. For the other operating markets, we sustained our category leadership position," said Mr. Winston Yau-lai Lo, Executive Chairman of VIHL.

Basic earnings per ordinary share have increased 20% to HK35.9 cents for the full year. The Board of Directors recommends a final dividend of HK21.2 cents per share. Together with the interim dividend of HK3.2 cents per ordinary share, the total dividend for FY2014/2015 will become HK24.4 cents per share (FY2013/2014 total dividend: HK20.2 cents per ordinary share).

Business Review

Hong Kong, Macau and Exports -- Encouraging growth driven by execution of our core brands and innovation, outperforming the industry average

Vitasoy Hong Kong reported a 8% growth in its revenue to HK$2,049 million, outperforming the industry average. The operating profit increased by 2% to HK$355 million.

The Macau business continued to deliver a strong growth of 17%. The Vitaland Group have reported a solid growth of 5% with a high client retention rate and improved efficiency.

Mr. Roberto Guidetti, Vitasoy Group Chief Executive Officer, said, "Hong Kong operation has been sustaining its continued growth momentum during the year. We focused on execution of our core brands and innovation. The format extension of VITASOY to Aseptic PET packaging, the strong performance of CALCI-PLUS and the leading position of SANSUI in the fresh category have all strengthened our Soy category leadership in the market. In the Tea category, the new product VITA Hong Kong Style Milk Tea was an instant success and received a very good response. In the coming year, we will further strengthen our market leadership position and drive innovation to expand market share."

Mainland China -- Robust growth through dedicated execution of "Go Deep Go Wide" strategy

Vitasoy China continued its acceleration with revenue surged by 27% to HK$1,916 million and operating profit increased 37% to HK$199 million. The robust growth was driven by product innovation and dedication execution of the "Go Deep Go Wide" strategy.

During the year, Vitasoy China recorded a strong growth in Guangdong province and expanded its market presence in the Southern, Eastern and Central China. The Group also embarked on building a new plant in Wuhan to further support its business growth in Mainland China.

Mr. Guidetti said, "We have maintained our leadership position in the packaged soymilk market through strong brand building and innovative marketing efforts, together with the launch of VITALITY, a new VITASOY premium line, offering high protein, high calcium, low sugar and no cholesterol benefits. In the Tea category, our VITA Lemon Tea achieved an encouraging growth."

Australia and New Zealand -- Execution diligence and product innovation, but results were impacted by the weakened Australian dollar

In Australia and New Zealand, Vitasoy recorded a growth of 4% in revenue and operating profit when reported in local currency. However, because of the weakened Australian dollar, the sales revenue and operating profit recorded a decrease of 3% in Hong Kong dollar term. The revenue and operating profit were HK$479 million and HK$84 million respectively.

Vitasoy Australia continued its execution diligence in the grocery channel to drive category growth and launched a new TV campaign to leverage its Australian Grown Whole Bean position for its core VITASOY range. It has further strengthened its market leading position in the plant milk segment with an increased share in the Soy segment. A new product VITASOY Coconut Milk (Original and Unsweetened) was launched in the year to compete in the plant-based segment beyond Soy.

According to Mr. Guidetti, Plant Milk market will continue its growth momentum, albeit intensified competition. Vitasoy Australia will keep on driving newly extended offerings in the Plant Milk category with strong execution.

North America -- Strong Asian business but soft Mainstream performance affecting overall results

Vitasoy USA recorded a revenue growth of 2% to HK$522 million, mainly from the Asian Channel but partly offset by the soft Mainstream performance.

The growth in Asian Channel business was mainly driven by the strong performance of SANSUI Tofu and the new product VITASOY Refrigerated Soymilk. However, the slower than expected tofu initiative and pasta sales in the Mainstream channel in the first half of the fiscal year have offset some of the business growth.

"In the coming year, we will stay focused to improve Vitasoy USA's bottom line by improving the Mainstream performance. Following the recent successful launch of VITASOY Refrigerated Soymilk, we will continue to expand the breadth of our growing Asian beverage portfolio," said Mr. Guidetti.

Singapore -- Strong domestic sales, offset by sluggish Export business and the weakened Singapore dollar

Unicurd, the Vitasoy's wholly-owned subsidiary in Singapore, maintained steady growth pace and reported a revenue increase of 1% to HK$86 million. The operating profit was the same as the previous year's level (HK$8 million). Overall business performance was impacted by a sluggish Export business and the weakened Singapore dollar.

Sales of the core products such as UNICURD Silken Tofu, Egg Tofu and Tau Kwa recorded encouraging growth, which was backed by increased trade promotions and consumer sampling activities. The sales efforts have also helped UNICURD to accelerate its number 1 position in the Tofu category. The new product, VITASOY Premium Tofu, a fortified tofu with higher calcium content, was added to provide consumers with an even healthier choice. The operation will continue to scale up the VITASOY brand equity and improve its plant efficiency in the coming year.

The Year Ahead

Mr. Lo concluded, "The global health trends, the increasing demand for nutritious products, and Vitasoy's unique competitive strengths have allowed us to gradually accelerate. We will continue to innovate and create value through producing more consumer-preferred products. While Hong Kong remains our core base, the Wuhan plant will help fuel our growth momentum in Mainland China. For the other overseas markets, we aim to further strengthen our foundation and market leading position. We will keep investing in employee engagement and capability enhancement to align our business growth. We are committed to delivering sustainable long-term value for our shareholders."

About Vitasoy

Vitasoy International Holdings Limited (0345.HK) is a leading manufacturer and distributor of plant based food and beverages, headquartered in Hong Kong. Since its establishment in 1940 by Dr Kwee-seong Lo, Vitasoy has been promoting sustainable nutrition through provision of a variety of high-quality products. With Nutrition, Taste and Sustainability as the guidelines of our portfolio offerings, we integrate our business into socially responsible activities and contribute to the communities that we serve. Currently, the Group's brands and products are available in more than 40 markets worldwide and supplied by 8 manufacturing facilities in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Australia, the United States and Singapore. The Company is listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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Source: Vitasoy International Holdings Limited
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