Orion's first-quarter net profit up on comfort food boom

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Orion's first-quarter net profit up on comfort food boom

Orion's first-quarter net income jumped more than 40 percent on year, and the company achieved its best sale ever in Vietnam during that period.

 
The strong performance came as demand for the company's Choco Pies and other snacks rose as more people spent time at home during the Covid-19 crisis. Expansion of sales channels helped the company in China and Vietnam.
 
Orion on Wednesday reported 539.8 billion won ($441.73 million) in sales, up 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year. Net profit rose to 75 billion won, up 41.8 percent on year, while operating profit went up 25.5 percent during the same period to 97 billion won.  
 
Orion’s highest sales are in China, followed by Korea, Vietnam and Russia.  
 
The sales in Korea rose 7.2 percent on year to 178 billion won, led by the steady selling snacks like Kkobuk chips, ChickenPOP and Poca chips. Choco Pie Strawberry Blossom, which came out for a limited release in spring, also boosted the sales, according to Orion.  
 
In China, sales were led by increased demand for snacks and the expansion of distribution channels to include e-commerce sites like JD.com and Tmall.com.  
 
Sales in China rose 4.6 percent on year to 251 billion won. Oh! Gamja was particularly popular, with sales rising 51 percent in the first quarter. Sales of Swing chips were up 30 percent during the same period.  
 
Orion reported its best first-quarter sales in Vietnam since it entered the market in December 2006 on the introduction of new releases like rice crackers and the expansion of distribution channels. Sales there rose 23.9 percent on year to 56.7 billion won, led by strong demand from convenience stores, according to Orion.  
 
In Russia, sales rose 32.8 percent in the first quarter to 14.9 billion won, led by Choco Pie sales. It introduced berry-flavored Choco Pie snacks.  
 
Hoping to maintain the momentum, Orion plans to introduce affordable snacks in the second quarter in Korea. The company hopes exports of its recently launched Jeju volcanic mineral water in China and Vietnam will also help drive growth.
 
“[Orion] reported steady growth in Korea through the boost in research and development and introducing new releases based on product innovation,” said Orion in a statement. “We plan to continue the healthy growth by successfully fulfilling new businesses and strengthening product competitiveness by actively investing in research and development.”
 
BY JIN MIN-JI   [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
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