Andre Juice posts 18-fold jump in net profit on harvest recovery

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 August, 2007, 12:00am

Yantai North Andre Juice, the world's largest producer of apple juice concentrate, said its first-half net profit jumped 18 times to 60.5 million yuan as the company had recovered from a poor apple harvest.

Net profit rose to 60.5 million yuan, 3.3 fen a share, for the six months to June, from 3.4 million yuan, 0.2 fen a share, a year earlier. Sales jumped 80 per cent to 628.5 million yuan.

However, earnings were on par with 61.4 million yuan in the first half of 2005 and 56.2 million yuan in 2004.

GEM-listed Andre Juice is benefiting from higher demand from customers such as China Huiyuan Juice Group, the nation's largest fruit juice maker and distributor which reported increased sales, especially of family-sized juice packages.

But the firm's gross profit margin fell 1.16 percentage points to 16.9 per cent year-on-year, significantly lower than the 40.4 per cent recorded in the first half of 2005 and 36.7 per cent posted in the same period in 2004.

Chief financial officer Jiang Hongqi said the gross margin erosion was mainly due to rising apple costs and a 5.4 per cent appreciation in the yuan which hurt earnings as the company derived more than 90 per cent of its sales from exports.

'A tonne of apples cost between 600 yuan and 650 yuan last year. Now, it costs 1,000 yuan,' he said.

Apple prices rose as juice companies, including Andre Juice and rival Hong Kong-listed China Haisheng Juice Holdings, aggressively stocked up on the fruit in the mainland.

Rex Chow Kam-hung, Andre Juice's assistant to the chairman, said apple supplies in Shanxi and Dalian appeared to be 'tense' this year.

Mr Chow said Andre Juice, which has eight juice production plants in the mainland, is in talks to buy more production facilities, with the aim of boosting capacity and securing more apple supplies.

Andre Juice, which did not declare an interim dividend, last night said that it planned to grant shareholders six new bonus shares for each existing share held.

The company is waiting for approval from mainland regulatory bodies on its plans to move its Hong Kong listing to the main board.

Capacity expansion

Andre Juice is in talks to buy more production facilities

For the first half to June, Andre Juice said sales surged: 80%