F J Benjamin reports fiscal 3Q net profit fell 19 percent on lower FX gains

Mall on Singapore’s Orchard RoadMall on Singapore’s Orchard Road

Retail management player F J Benjamin reported Thursday its fiscal third quarter net profit fell 19 percent on-year to S$302,000 on lower foreign-exchange gains.

The foreign-exchange gain for the quarter ended 31 March was S$494,000, compared with S$1.4 million in the year-ago quarter, the storied company said in a filing to SGX.

Operating profit jumped 47 percent on-year to S$1.2 million in the quarter, F J Benjamin said.

“We continued to make progress in our underlying business,” CEO Nash Benjamin said in the statement, noting the company signed two established brands — handbag label Faure Le Page and luxury watch label Baume & Mercier.

“The group is in the process of reviewing several new brands to strengthen our brand portfolio,” he added.

Revenue fell 22 percent on-year in the quarter to S$32.7 million on the discontinuation of money-losing brands and a S$1.9 million sales drop in the Indonesian associate, which is now directly financing more of its purchases, the company said.

In addition, the Lunar New Year holiday period fell in early February this year, resulting in a shorter festive shopping period from Christmas, denting revenue, FJ Benjamin said. Revenue from the Indonesian associate was also dented by slower spending ahead of the Indonesian elections in April, it said.

However, the gross profit margin improved to 50 percent in the quarter, from 44 percent in the year-ago period, on less discounting in stores, discontinuing low-yielding brands and more targeted inventory management, the company said.

In a separate statement on its watch-list status, F J Benjamin said it was still in discussions, initially announced in 2016, with an international third party over a potential transaction.

“Management believes that barring unforeseen circumstances, the pace of recovery can be sustained as our current portfolio today does not consist of loss-making brands,” the watch-list update said.

The company’s shares were placed on the watch list due to the minimum trading price criteria, it said.


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