(Yicai Global) March 16 -- Two leading Chinese milk powder makers have released their annual reports for last year, showing a huge contrast in performance.
Ausnutria Dairy Corp. Ltd. [HKG:1717] said its sales revenue grew more than 30 percent last year while Beingmate Baby & Child Food Co. [SHE:002570], once China's largest milk powder maker, saw annual revenues dive 39 percent, equating to a CNY800 million loss despite marked improvement in the final quarter.
The Hong Kong-based firm strategically positioned itself, said Song Liang, a senior analyst in the dairy sector. It took initiative and committed to such milk variants as powdered goat milk and organic milk, and its sales team executed well, he added.
The company has been a leading brand in China for its imported powdered goat milk and infant formula for three straight years. It increased sales revenue by 44 percent last year, making it one of the firm's primary income sources with a 29 percent contribution. It diversified from milk powders last August by acquiring an Australian nutriment provider, Nutrition Care, to promote and distribute liquid milk in China. It also launched a liquid milk formula for kids in December.
In contrast, the former top domestic brand, Hangzhou-based Beingmate, saw revenues start decline to CNY2.77 billion last year after peaking in 2013 at CNY6.1 billion.
All domestic powder brands saw a decline in operations as demand decentralized due to the price war, rivalry with foreign brands and the emergence of cross-border acquisitions, Song said, adding that an important reason for Beingmate's sharp decline was worsened relations with its distributors.
The firm's income dropped substantially last year, but expenses remained the same, a report from China International Capital Corp. Ltd. said. The industry price war is expected to continue this year, but Beingmate still needs time to see profit recover to a reasonable level, it added.