Kweichow Moutai forecasts lower full-year profit

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Employees pack liquor products at the production line of Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd. [Photo/China Daily]

Share prices of Kweichow Moutai Co Ltd saw fluctuations on Thursday after the high-end spirit maker reported lower-than-expected annual sales estimates and profit for 2019. The company's shares fell by as much as 5 percent in early trading despite an overall strong A-share market performance.

Moutai, a distiller from Maotai town in southwestern China's Guizhou province, closed at 1,130 yuan ($162) per share on Thursday after opening the day at 1,128 yuan. Though the company's share prices have declined from the high levels seen in May last year, it is still the most expensive stock in the A-share market with a valuation of more than 1.4 trillion yuan.

Other major liquor makers also saw lackluster stock performances on Thursday. Shares of Sichuan province-based Wuliangye Yibin Co Ltd and LuzhouLaojiao Group dropped by 0.7 percent and 1.42 percent.

Moutai said it expects to achieve full-year sales revenue of 88.5 billion yuan in 2019, up 15 percent year-on-year. Net profit during the same period was forecast to reach 40.5 billion yuan, up about 15 percent year-on-year, a slower growth rate for sales and net income from the previous two years, according to the company's estimates.

Last year, the distiller produced 49,900 metric tons of liquor, and 25,100 tons of series wines. This year, the company plans to sell 34,500 tons of liquor, which is 11 percent higher than its plan for 2019, and it aims to achieve an annual sales growth of 10 percent in 2020, according to the company.

In 2017 and 2018, Moutai achieved sales revenue of 58.2 billion yuan and 73.6 billion yuan, jumping 49.61 percent and 26.46 percent over the previous year. Its net profit reached 27.1 billion yuan and 35.2 billion yuan, surging 62.28 percent and 29.89 percent year-on-year.

Moutai, one of China's most prominent consumer brands, earlier became the first consumer stock with a market value exceeding 1 trillion yuan. As one of the leading stocks in the A-share market, Moutai has seen continuous steady growth and its rising share prices have been a trigger for several other peers. Once such companies report lower-than-expected sales, their share prices are likely to drop significantly, industry observers said.

This year, Moutai plans to establish its own e-commerce platform and further promote overseas sales of its products.

"Moutai plans to increase its self-operated product volumes and adjust its sales channels. The company's sales are expected to maintain steady growth. The distiller also might raise its ex-factory price to dealers to maintain good performance," said a research report from Sealand Securities.

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