China snack maker Want Want posts record profit for 2012

HONG KONG, March 5 Mon Mar 4, 2013 11:19pm EST

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HONG KONG, March 5 (Reuters) - Want Want China Holdings Ltd , the country's top food and beverage maker and distributor by market value, posted a 32 percent rise in 2012 net profit on Tuesday, largely as a result of soft raw material prices.

Want Want, known in China for its rice crackers and snacks, posted a record net profit of $553.8 million for the year ended December, up from $419.5 million a year earlier and in line with market expectations of $556 million according Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate.

Turnover grew 14 percent to $3.36 billion.

Want Want, which has market value of $18.70 billion, competes with Tingyi (Cayman islands) Holding Corp, China Mengniu Dairy Co Ltd, and Uni-President China Holdings Ltd. Its rivals in China also include the world's largest food company Nestle SA and French foodmaker Danone SA.

(Reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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