November 15 (SeeNews) - Sphera Franchise Group [BSE:SFG], the manager of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands in Romania, said on Thursday its net profit fell 22.7% year-on-year to 32.4 million lei ($7.8 million/ 6.9 million euro) in the first nine months of 2018.
The reduction in the net profit margin, by 3.5 percentage points (pp) to 5.9% of sales in the first nine months of 2018, was driven by a 3.6pp decrease in the operating profit margin, Sphera Franchise Group said in a statement to the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
Sales of Sphera reached 551.6 million lei in the first nine months of 2018, up 23.4% compared to the pro forma sales of the previous year.
The main driver for the increase was the growth in the sales of KFC Romania with a 20.9% annual advance, which contributed 16.4pp to the pro forma sales growth rate.
Pro forma operational expenses rose to 477.0 million lei in the first nine months of 2018, an increase of 28.1% compared to prior-year figure.
"Sphera Franchise Group has continued its upward trend over the past few months, and financial results in the third quarter confirm our sustained efforts to improve our operations and our dedication to delivering our best service to our customers. The results of the third quarter show that we have continued to grow in line with our targets, a significant 26.6% increase in sales, this being just one of the indicators that support our progress," SFG CEO Mark Hilton said.
In the third quarter alone, SFG posted a net profit of 13.6 million lei, up 0.5% compared to the previous year.
The shares of Sphera Franchise Group, one of the most important food service operators in Romania, started trading on the BVB on November 9, 2017, following a 285 million IPO.
The company, which manages restaurants under the KFC, Pizza Hut, Pizza Hut Delivery and Taco Bell brands, became the first food service operator listed on the BVB.
Its shares traded 0.88% lower at 22.4 lei as at 0917 CET on Thursday on the BVB.
(1 euro=4.6590 lei)