WH Group profit rises to US$1.3b

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mainland meat and food processor WH Group's (0288) net profit last year increased by 31.7 percent from a year ago to US$1.38 billion (HK$10.76 billion).

The group said the coronavirus pandemic had only a limited impact on sales given global demand.

The basic earnings per share last year were 9.37 US cents. The company declared a final dividend of 26.5 HK cents, for a full-year dividend of 31.5 HK cents.

Revenue climbed by 6.6 percent year-on-year to US$24.1 billion in 2019, with revenue from the packaged meats segment up by 1.5 percent to US$12.33 billion.

Revenue from operations in the United States took up 54.6 percent of total revenue last year, dropping from 58.3 in 2018.

Operating profit increased by 23.1 percent to US$2.03 billion last year.

The total number of hogs processed last year was 53,797 thousand heads, a drop of 4.1 percent from 2018, dragged down by a 19 percent decline in the number of hogs processed from its slaughtering operation in China.

Chairman, Wan Long, said 95 percent of the company's plants have resumed, so far.

Ma Xiangjie, executive director and president of the group's subsidiary Shuanghui Development, said global demand was less affected by the trade war, African swine fever virus and the new coronavirus pandemic, as the pork price spread between the mainland and the US and other market is wide.

Ma said the price spread was 12.5 times last year, and is currently 4.1 times.

He expects expecting the spread to drop to 3.5 times in the second half of this year, which still represents room for growth for exports.

He also said the company had raised the product prices six times, adding up to a 20 percent increase and there is no need to for further increases again this year.

Shares of the company jumped by 10.74 percent before the results announcement, closing at HK$6.60.