Want Want China Net Rises 15% on Demand for Snacks, Milk

Want Want China Holdings Ltd. (151), the country’s largest maker of rice cakes and flavored milk, reported a 15 percent increase in 2010 profit as rising incomes boosted demand for its snacks.

Net income climbed to $358.4 million, or 2.71 cents a share, from $312.6 million, or 2.37 cents a share, a year earlier, Want Want said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. That compares with the average $370 million of 16 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 31 percent to $2.24 billion, the Shanghai-based company said.

Want Want, controlled by Taiwanese billionaire Tsai Eng- meng, is benefiting from increased demand for food products as growth in the world’s second-largest economy boosts incomes. The company will pay a final dividend of 1.36 cents per share.

Revenue from dairy products and beverages increased 34 percent from a year earlier. Sales of snack foods rose 22 percent while that of rice crackers climbed 34 percent, the company said in the statement.

Want Want fell 3.4 percent to close at HK$6.45 in Hong Kong trading, the biggest decline since Feb. 24. The stock has lost 5.3 percent this year, trailing a 2.9 percent advance by the benchmark Hang Seng Index. (HSI)

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