“In 2021, we think we will still have to go through some very rough waters especially in the first half of the year. But we are staying positive with respect to the situation of Covid-19 and we think (it) will improve eventually. Then, in the second half of the year, we will emerge even stronger, ” Carlsberg’s managing director Stefano Clini. SHAH ALAM: Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd remains cautious on its outlook for financial year 2021 ending Dec 31 (FY21), following the prolonged effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. “In 2021, we think we will still have to go through some very rough waters especially in the first half of the year. But we are staying positive with respect to the situation of Covid-19 and we think (it) will improve eventually. Then, in the second half of the year, we will emerge even stronger, ” Carlsberg’s managing director Stefano Clini said at a press briefing yesterday. The company said in its statement that it was bracing for a muted recovery in its on-trade sales, following the second movement control order (MCO) coupled with other factors such as weak macroeconomic conditions and financial challenges that many food and beverage operators are facing to stay afloat. “Our outlook remains cautious due to the prolonged effects of Covid-19 and the government regulations and measures that would likely cause our on-trade sales and consumer sentiment to remain depressed. But we are hopeful that vaccination plans in Malaysia and Singapore will help contain infections and lead to a better economic recovery in the second half of 2021, ” Clini said. “The group has put in place numerous measures to mitigate profit impact and preserve cash. To be even more disciplined we have our ‘Fund the Journey’ initiatives and are optimising cost structures aggressively. We are allocating investments into viable channels and extending various support to our business partners, ” he added. Carlsberg yesterday announced its fourth quarter FY20 financial results, saying its revenue and net profit were lower year-on-year (y-o-y) by 17.7% and 45.0% to RM472.54mil and RM37.95mil respectively. The company said that y-o-y revenue was affected by significantly lower on-trade consumption and the later timing of the Chinese New Year trade-loading in the fourth quarter of FY20. Net profit was also impacted by the one-off restructuring costs, partially mitigated by prudent cost controls in operations, Carlsberg said. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter fell to 12.41 sen from 22.57 sen in the same quarter a year ago. Carlsberg yesterday declared an interim dividend of 10 sen per share and also proposed a final dividend of 30 sen per share. “This (interim and final dividend) is equivalent to a RM122.3mil payment of the group’s FY20 net profit, representing 75.4% of the FY20 net profit, ” Carlsberg said in the notes to its financial statements. “We have a strong balance sheet and are very proud to have maintained this throughout Covid-19. Moving forward, we would have to be even more prudent than we would be in a normal year. We would also have to not only invest in the business to not only sustain it but to grow it in the future, and anything on top of this which is not needed we would always return (cash) to our shareholders, ” Clini said.
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