BAuto achieves record high quarterly earnings on strong domestic demand for Mazda cars, declares 4.5 sen dividend

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 13): Bermaz Auto Bhd (BAuto) has registered a record high net profit of RM81.01 million for the third quarter ended Jan 31, 2019 (3QFY19) on the back of higher revenue from domestic operations and higher share of profit contribution from its associate company Mazda Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MMSB).

BAuto said the higher share of profit contribution from MMSB was mainly attributed to an increase in production volume for the new CX-5 model to cater for both the domestic and export markets.

The group's net profit doubled from RM40.47 million in 3QFY18, while revenue rose 39.1% to a record RM778.13 million, versus RM559.4 million previously.

BAuto attributed the improved revenue to higher vehicle sales volume resulting from strong domestic demand for Mazda vehicles, particularly the SUV models.

Earnings per share in 3QFY19 stood at 6.99 sen, from 3.5 sen last year.

In a statement, BAuto said the group was still fulfilling back orders in 3QFY19 on some of the more popular models, as many customers took advantage of the group's offer to absorb the Sales and Services Tax (SST) for bookings received prior to Sept 1, 2018 but vehicle delivery made after the reintroduction of the SST, BAuto said.

The group has declared a third interim single-tier dividend of 4.5 sen per share, payable on April 25.

For the cumulative nine month of FY19, BAuto's net profit grew 147.6% to RM205.21 million or 17.68 sen per share, compared with RM82.88 million or 7.19 sen per share last year, while revenue rose 37.37% to RM1.95 billion from RM1.42 billion.

On prospects, BAuto said the group's performance for the final quarter quarter will remain satisfactory.

Total Industry Volume (TIV) in Malaysia for calendar year 2018 was 598,714 units or 3.8% higher year-on-year, while Mazda's sales volume for the same period has grown by 67% year-on-year, BAuto noted.

The uncertainties over the ongoing US-China trade war, fall in prices of crude oil and commodities, review of mega projects by the government post GE14, weaker ringgit and stringent hire purchase guidelines could further affect local consumer sentiment, BAuto said.

“However, the expected launch of the all new Mazda3 and CX-8 models in Malaysia may mitigate some of these challenges,” the group added.

In the Philippines, BAuto said the new vehicle market continued to be low as a consequence of the implementation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law in January 2018, despite the economy being forecasted to remain vibrant with expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.3% for 2019.

Nonetheless, Bermaz Auto Philippines Inc seeks to preserve its sales volume through the growth in the number of dealerships, BAuto said.

BAuto’s shares closed two sen or 0.9% higher at RM2.24 today, bringing its market capitalisation to RM2.6 billion.