Natural Beauty Announces 2014 Interim Results

Turnover Rose 22.1% to HK$248.5 Million
Contribution from Higher-margin Products Drove
Gross Margin Improvement

PR Newswire

HONG KONG, Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Natural Beauty Bio-Technology Limited ("Natural Beauty" or the "Group"; Stock Code: 00157), the leading professional skin-care, spa services and beauty training provider in China, announced today its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2014.

For the six months ended 30 June 2014, turnover of the Group grew 22.1% to HK$248.5 million year-on-year (1H2013: HK$203.6 million), driven by an increase in product sales as a result of higher store productivity in Mainland China and Taiwan. Overall gross profit margin improved to 76.7%, as contribution from higher-margin products increased within the Group's sales mix during the period (1H2013: 75.9%). Profit for the period amounted to HK$29.7 million for the six months ended 30 June 2014 (1H2013: HK$36.2 million). Earnings per share were 1.48 HK cents (1H2013:1.81 HK cents). The Board recommended to distribute an interim dividend of 2.1 HK cents per share, equivalent to a dividend payout ratio of 141.5%.

Despite the economic growth slowdown in the Mainland China, turnover in the Mainland China market rose by 25.3% to HK$201.8 million for the six months ended 30 June 2014. The growth was driven by increase in sales of products, mainly due to the pilot-testing of "direct-own retail" management system to exercise better control over franchisees in order to drive higher store productivity. During the first half of 2014, gross margin on product sales was up 2.4 percentage points to 81.2%. Turnover for the Taiwan market also registered growth of 11.7% to HK$44.4 million, as the Group adopted door-by-door management via franchisee differentiation to utilize company resources efficiently. Gross margin on product sales expanded 3.5 percentage points to 82.4%. The gross margin improvement in both Mainland China and Taiwan was a result of higher sales contribution from higher-margin products such as NB-1, and lower promotion discounts during the period under review. On the other hand, sales in other regions, including Hong Kong, Macau and Malaysia, decreased 17.9% to HK$2.3 million for the six months ended 30 June 2014, accounting for an insignificant 0.9% of the Group's turnover.  

The Group derives its income principally from its network of distribution channels, including spas and concessionary counters in department stores. As at 30 June 2014, there were 1,358 spas and 14 concessionary counters. A total of 11 new stores were opened and 72 stores were closed during the six months ended 30 June 2014.

During the period, average sales per store of the Group amounted to HK$179,000 (1H2013: HK$138,000), of which average sales per store in the Mainland China grew 32.6% to HK$183,000, while average sales per store in Taiwan increased by 20.6% to HK$164,000.

The Group puts significant emphasis on research and development which allows it to maintain its competitive edge by continuously improving the quality of its existing products and developing new products. The Group has been collaborating with overseas skin-care companies on technological development, drawing on the experience of its team of experts to continually create high-quality beauty and skin care products. During the six months ended 30 June 2014, nearly 191,395 sets/bottles of the Group's flagship NB-1 family products were sold with turnover amounting to HK$101.3 million, accounting for more than one-third of the Group's total product sales during the period. The Group has also collaborated with a leading researcher in the field of human genome and stem cell technology. The stem cell technology is patented in the United States to protect the uniqueness of the NB-1 products.

Ms. Karen Chang, Chief Executive Officer of the Group said, "In 2014, the beauty and personal care sector maintained better than GDP growth and we are pleased to have achieved a much higher growth than the industry. Our growth is mainly attributed to the improved channel quality by implementing 'direct-own retail' management methodology to drive much higher door productivity. In order to maintain the encouraging growth momentum, we will strengthen trainings provided to our franchisees to ensure their operational quality. We also rationalize our products lines by relaunching NB-1 Revital products to increase the penetration of home care. We will press on with our prudent growth strategy, and strive to strengthen our position as a leading skin care brand and spa operator in the Greater China Region, so as to generate better returns for our shareholders."

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About Natural Beauty Bio-Technology Limited

Natural Beauty is a leading beauty and spa services and products provider in Greater China. The Group principally offers tailor-made beauty and skin care solutions through its trained professional beauticians. The Group is engaged in research and development, manufacture and sale of skin care, aroma-therapeutic and beauty products, marketed under the brandname "NB®". The products are distributed through a distribution network of over 1,300 NB's SPAs and dedicated counters in Greater China.

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