Wilmar reports slump in Q4 profit

Mr Kuok, Wilmar's chairman, said that the group's performance was satisfactory for the full year. This is in spite of the challenges faced, particularly in the palm oil segment.
Mr Kuok, Wilmar's chairman, said that the group's performance was satisfactory for the full year. This is in spite of the challenges faced, particularly in the palm oil segment.PHOTO: REUTERS

Net earnings falls 16% due to weak commodity prices, despite sales growth

Agri-business firm Wilmar International's fourth-quarter earnings took a hit due to a slump in commodity prices, although it was partially offset by strong sales growth.

Net profit dropped 16 per cent to US$337.2 million (S$473.5 million) compared with the same period a year earlier, while revenue for the three months to Dec 31 fell 12.5 per cent to US$9.43 billion.

The oilseeds and grains unit and the sugar segment recorded a "robust performance" in the quarter, said Wilmar yesterday.

Oilseeds and grains benefited from record volumes and healthy margins for the soya bean crushing and consumer products businesses.

The sugar segment was boosted by higher prices during the quarter, but partially offset by the translation effect from a weaker Australian dollar.

But the results were affected by weak performance in tropical oils, "in line with difficult industry-wide conditions", it added.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • NET PROFIT: US$337.2 million (-16%)

    REVENUE: US$9.43 billion (-12.5%)

    DIVIDEND: 5.5 Singapore cents

Wilmar recorded an 8.7 per cent fall in net profit to US$1.06 billion for the full year on the back of weaker regional currencies against the United States dollar and mark-to-market losses from investment securities.

Revenue declined 10 per cent to US$38.78 billion, compared with a year earlier.

Total sales volume grew 10 per cent to 65.3 million tonnes for the year and overall margins improved, despite headwinds in the operating environment.

Earnings per share for the quarter was 5.3 US cents, down 15.9 per cent from 6.3 US cents a year earlier.

Net asset value per share dropped 1.2 per cent to US$2.39 as of Dec 31, from US$2.42 as of Dec 31, 2014.

A final dividend of 5.5 Singapore cents per share was proposed.

"The group performed satisfactorily for the full year, in spite of the challenging environment, particularly for palm oil," said chairman and chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong in a press release.

"Healthy growth was achieved in various key business segments such as oilseeds, flour, rice, consumer products, speciality fats and sugar.

"In an environment where macro factors are expected to remain challenging, we believe our resilient business model and vertical integration, supported by our healthy balance sheet, will allow us to continue to do reasonably well."

Wilmar shares closed up seven cents, or 2.3 per cent, at $3.11 ahead of its results announcement.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 19, 2016, with the headline 'Wilmar reports slump in Q4 profit'. Print Edition | Subscribe