Wilmar profit up 70% in Q4 on price, sales boost

Workers at Wilmar's Sabah plantation. The firm's net profit for the 12 months dipped 5 per cent to US$972.2 million from a year earlier, while revenue was up 6.8 per cent to US$41.4 billion as greater sales volume was partly dragged down by lower com
Workers at Wilmar's Sabah plantation. The firm's net profit for the 12 months dipped 5 per cent to US$972.2 million from a year earlier, while revenue was up 6.8 per cent to US$41.4 billion as greater sales volume was partly dragged down by lower commodity prices in the first quarter.PHOTO: WILMAR INTERNATIONAL

Earnings lifted by tropical oils business, higher sugar prices and contributions from associates

Higher commodity prices and strong sales helped agribusiness group Wilmar International end the year on a high.

Fourth-quarter net profit soared 69.9 per cent to US$560.8 million (S$795 million), while revenue rose 26.7 per cent to US$11.95 billion in the three months to Dec 31.

The tropical oils business surged 94 per cent in pre-tax profit to US$184.3 million, compared with a year earlier, led by the plantation business that benefited from higher crude palm oil prices in the quarter.

Revenue from sugar was also boosted by higher sugar prices and the extension of the season for milling activities in Australia, with the business reporting a 68 per cent increase in pre-tax profit to US$135.9 million.

The numbers were also boosted by deferred tax assets of US$142.1 million being recognised for the firm's Indonesian operations.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • Q4 NET PROFIT: US$560.8 million (+69.9%)

    Q4 REVENUE: US$11.95 billion (+26.7%)

    FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: Four cents (-27.3%)

Wilmar was helped by improved contributions from associates. Its share of results of joint ventures and associates rose 10 per cent to US$67.6 million, owing to stronger contributions from the group's joint venture investment in Goodman Fielder and China associates.

Net profit for the 12 months dipped 5 per cent to US$972.2 million from a year earlier, while revenue was up 6.8 per cent to US$41.4 billion as greater sales volume was partly dragged down by lower commodity prices in the first quarter.

Wilmar's total assets stood at US$37.03 billion, while shareholder funds were US$14.43 billion as of Dec 31. It also generated US$1.12 billion in net cash flow from operating activities, leading to free cash flow of US$591.8 million.

Fourth-quarter earnings per share was 8.9 US cents, from 5.2 US cents a year earlier, while net asset value per share was US$2.29 as of Dec 31 last year, from US$2.28 as of Dec 31, 2015.

The firm proposed a final dividend of four cents per share, with the total payout for the year at 6.5 cents a share.

Chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong said in a statement: "The strong performance in the fourth quarter enabled the group to overcome the losses incurred in the second quarter and achieve satisfactory performance for the full year.

"All segments achieved good volume and margin growth during the second half of the year."

He noted that the recent lifting of restrictions in China on oilseeds and grains processing on foreign companies is expected to benefit its operations. "Barring unforeseen circumstances, the performance in 2017 is expected to be satisfactory," said Mr Kuok.

Wilmar shares closed four cents lower at $3.90 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 21, 2017, with the headline 'Wilmar profit up 70% in Q4 on price, sales boost'. Print Edition | Subscribe