Higher tax bill drags down earnings at Wilmar International

WILMAR International blamed a bigger tax bill for the 22.6 per cent drop in fourth-quarter earnings.

Net profit was US$369.1 million (S$467.2 million) for the three months to Dec 31, down from US$476.8 million a year earlier.

Taxes went up because more of Wilmar's profit came from subsidiaries in higher tax jurisdictions.

Core profit before tax rose 7.1 per cent to US$496.4 million, despite lower sugar earnings.

The sugar division earnings were hit because milling profits had been recognised in the third quarter of 2013 due to favourable weather conditions. The dry weather allowed more cane to be crushed earlier in the year.

Quarterly revenue was flat at US$11.62 billion, said Wilmar which is the world's largest trader and processor of palm oil.

Full-year net profit rose 5.1 per cent to US$1.32 billion.

Wilmar reported earnings growth in the palm and laurics, oilseeds and grains, consumer products and sugar divisions.

But this was partially offset by weaker earnings in the plantations and palm oil mills business, which was affected by lower crude palm oil prices and a reduced production yield.

Core profit before tax increased 12.3 per cent to US$1.76 billion for the financial year, although turnover dipped 3 per cent to US$44.09 billion.

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