Kweichow Moutai 9-mth profit up but on track for weakest annual growth
Oct 15 (Reuters) - China's Kweichow Moutai, known for its fiery liquor, reported net profit growth of 6.2 percent in the first nine months on Tuesday, on track in 2013 for its slowest annual growth as China clamps down on luxury spending by officials.
Kweichow Moutai, which makes a grain alcohol called baijiu that is often served at state banquets, said it earned 11.1 billion yuan ($1.8 billion) in the first three quarters, up from 10.4 billion yuan from the same period a year ago, according to a filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
The company, which competes with other liquor makers such as Wuliangye Yibin, is expected to post a full-year net profit of 14.99 billion yuan, according to an average estimate of 14 analysts on Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
That would mean its net profit growth for 2013 is expected to be 12.6 percent, marking slowest growth since the company went public in 2001. Kweichow Moutai recorded a 52 percent profit rise in 2012.
Baijiu has long been the luxury spirit of choice for Chinese officials but at more than $300 a bottle, it became an easy target for President Xi Jinping's campaign against extravagance.
Another liquor maker, Sichuan Swellfun also felt the crackdown on luxury spending. In a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange on Monday, it said it expected nine-month profit to be down 80 to 100 percent from year ago.
"The company's sales in the first three quarters are expected to slip, hit by the overall macro-economic situation and related policies to curb the sales of baijiu, resulting in a significant oversupply and a smaller high-end baijiu market," Swellfun said.
Kweichow Moutai's announcement came after the markets closed. Its shares, which have lost about a third of their value this year, ended up 3.29 percent on Tuesday, outperforming the Shanghai composite index's 0.19 percent fall. (Reporting by Meg Shen in Hong Kong and Chyen Yee Lee in Singapore; editing by David Evans)
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