Tse Sui Luen returns to the black after boosting mainland venture

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 19 June, 2007, 12:00am

Tse Sui Luen Jewellery, which has 133 outlets in the mainland and Hong Kong, posted a full-year net profit of HK$55.6 million, reversing the loss a year ago when it made a tax provision following investigations of company executives over alleged tax evasion and corruption.

TSL, whose shares have been suspended from trading since January last year following the investigations, said profit last year was boosted by the acquisition of an additional 24 per cent stake in its mainland joint venture in August. It now owns 80 per cent of the venture.

In the 2005-06 financial year, the company recorded a net loss of HK$48 million after it made a HK$51 million tax provision following an investigation by the government.

Sales rose 14 per cent to HK$1.5 billion in the year to February on the back of a 14 per cent increase in same-store sales in its 13 Hong Kong outlets and 20 per cent rise in sales of its 120 mainland stores.

Chairman Tommy Tse Tat-fung, a son of founder Tse Sui-luen, said the company planned to open at least between 20 and 30 stores in the mainland every year. He said TSL would request trading of its shares be resumed after the end of the lawsuits.

Tse Sui-luen, Tommy Tse, finance director Chung Yuen-ling, deputy chairman and chief executive Peter Gerardus Van Weerdenburg and business promotions general manager Wong Ting-fong face 21 charges of corruption, tax evasion and embezzlement.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has accused them of offering kickbacks to travel agents for taking tour groups to the jeweller's showrooms.

The first hearing will be held on August 13.

To restore customers' confidence after the Travel Industry Council deducted points on the company for not following a rule regarding the text size of its description of its refund policy on receipts, TSL said it had recently participated in the council's six-month refund guarantee programme and fixed the problem.