November 6, 2017 / 7:16 AM / 14 days ago

Thai Union beats market on strict cost control

BANGKOK, Nov 6 (Reuters) - The world’s largest producer of canned tuna, Thai Union Group Pcl, reported on Monday its third-quarter profit rose 8.9 percent year-on-year to 1.74 billion baht ($52 million), beating market expectations.

The company beat forecasts of 1.62 billion baht based on six analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Raw material price rises and foreign exchange fluctuations put pressure on gross profit margins, which were 13.2 percent, Chief Executive Thiraphong Chansiri told reporters.

The company targeted margins of 15 percent in 2018 on lower raw material costs and continued cost control measures, he added.

Income from other businesses, including restaurant chain Red Lobster, was up 118 percent from the same time last year to 715 million baht on operational seasonality, the company said in a statement.

“Our challenge this year was high raw material prices for tuna and salmon,” Thiraphong said, adding that raw material prices had began to decline in the fourth quarter.

The European market contributes 32 percent to total sales, while the United States was its biggest market with 38 percent of sales.

The company was focused on growth in Asia, its smallest market, Thirapong said. Its China footprint includes a partnership with e-commerce giant, Alibaba.

$1 = 33.1500 baht Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Stephen Coates

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