Wilmar International's Q1 earnings hit by lower refining margins

SINGAPORE - Low palm oil refining margins and negative crush margins in China weighed on Wilmar International's first-quarter earnings, which plunged 48.7 per cent on flat revenue.

Net profit tumbled to US$161.8 million (S$208.8 million), down from US$315.4 million a year ago. Sales had remained flat at US$10.27 billion.

Excluding non-operating items, core profit before tax dropped 32 per cent to US$214.6 million, it added.

The lower first quarter net profit reflected seasonal losses in sugar, negative soybean crushing margins as well as tougher operating conditions for palm and laurics. Wilmar's associates also recorded lower contributions.

But the group's plantations and palm oil mills and consumer products segments performed strongly.

The counter rose four cents, or 1.2 per cent today to close at S$3.34, before the release of its first-quarter results.