Wilmar's Q4 profits drop 16% on weak performance from tropical oil segment

SINGAPORE - 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$472 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 on Feb 18.

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.

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.

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