The publicly quoted Chinese shoemaker didn't say this directly while disclosing its results for the first half of its financial year, ended Sept. 30, but it warned investors that failure to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) would have a significant impact on its sales, which have already gone down for other reasons.
Kingmaker has only one factory operating now in China, after expanding production in Vietnam and Cambodia. Located in Zhuhai, its production accounted for only 17.3 percent of the volume of shoes that it made in the first half, down from 25.7 percent in the same period of last year, representing 19.2 percent of its revenues.
The company's 23 production lines in Vietnam accounted for 56.1 percent of the volume, down from 60.7 percent, but because of the lower prices charged to its clients, it represented just 49.2 percent of revenues. The big growth took place in Cambodia, where the company's ten lines made 19.0 percent of the pairage, up from 12.1 percent a year ago, and generated 23.6 percent of the revenues.
Kingmaker's biggest clients – Asics, Clarks, New Balance, Skechers and Wolverine Worldwide – accounted for 94.4 percent of its revenues in the first half of this year, due in part to the discontinuation of the group's wholesale and retail businesses. The company also blamed retail bankruptcies in the U.S. and the uncertain economic situation in Europe. Sales declined by 20 percent to 236.3 million Hong Kong dollars (€28.6m-$30.5m) in the U.S., by 30 percent to HK$ 312.3 million (€37.8m-$40.3m) in Europe and by 24 percent to HK$ 465.4 million (€56.4m-$60.0m) in Asia.
With deliveries of 8.2 million pairs, sales fell by 25 percent to HK$ 1,014 million (€122.8m-$130.7m) during the six-month period, and average selling prices slid by 1.5 percent, in spite of the company's attempts to adjust the product mix in favor of higher-margin athleisure and premium casual footwear styles.
The gross margin improved by 3.8 percentage points to 16.8 percent, benefiting from lower material costs and subcontracting charges, reduced labor costs and the strong U.S. dollar. A reduction of HK$ 11 million (€1.33m-$1.42m) in foreign exchange losses helped Kingmaker to raise its net income by 53 percent to HK$ 47.1 million (€5.70m-$6.07m). Excluding special items and the phase-out of retail and wholesale operations, adjusted net earnings rose slightly to HK$ 77.6 million (€9.39m-$10.0m) from HK$ 64.9 million in the year-ago period.