Gourmet Master Co (美食達人), which owns cafe and bakery chain 85oC (85度C), will distribute a record-high dividend to its shareholders this year, following reporting earnings per share of nearly NT$7 for last year.
The company posted NT$1.01 billion (US$33.84 million), or NT$6.93 per share, in consolidated net profit last year, down from NT$1.14 billion, or NT$7.94 per share, in 2011, the company said in a stock exchange filing yesterday.
In the period from October to December last year, the firm said its consolidated net profit was NT$170 million, or NT$1.2 per share.
Despite the decline in net income, the company’s board of directors still approved a proposal to distribute a cash dividend of NT$5 per share this year, with the dividend distribution rate standing above 70 percent, higher than the 50 percent recorded in the past two years.
“The results show that the company remains optimistic about its cash flow,” Gourmet Master said in a statement.
The main factor behind the decline in net profit was the rising cost of staffing expenses in China, as well investments in kitchen facilities made during the second half of last year, the statement said.
Analysts forecast earlier this year that the company would report a 20 percent to 30 percent growth in both consolidated sales and net income this year.
However, the company expects to slow the pace of expansion this year by only opening between 60 and 80 new outlets in China — compared with 110 outlets last year — and making them more efficient by cutting operating costs, Gourmet Master chief executive officer James Hsieh (謝健南) said in January.
In yesterday’s statement, the firm said it planned to increase its 85oC outlets in the US to seven or eight this year, from the current three, and hopes to double US sales.
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