Olam swings back into the black in Q4

An improvement in operational performance and lower exceptional losses helped Olam return to profitability.
An improvement in operational performance and lower exceptional losses helped Olam return to profitability.PHOTO: OLAM INTERNATIONAL

Earnings rebound with net profit at $102.2m, 12.1% jump in revenue

An improvement in operational performance and lower exceptional losses helped earnings rebound at Olam International in the fourth quarter. Net profit came in at $102.2 million for the three months to Dec 31 last year - a reversal from the net loss of $269.5 million in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue jumped 12.1 per cent to $6.11 billion as sales volumes grew 14 per cent, mainly across the food staples and packaged foods and industrial raw materials, Ag logistics and infrastructure segments. 

Net profit for the full year swung from a net loss of $54.2 million in the restated period a year earlier to $351.3 million, even though revenue fell 27.1 per cent to $20.59 billion.

During the quarter, earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 34.4 per cent to $349 million, thanks to a strong performance from the confectionery and beverage ingredients, as well as food staples and packaged foods segments, which offset declines in other segments.

The group also logged a net gain from changes in the fair value of biological assets of $17.8 million, compared with a loss of $80.8 million previously.

Earnings per share came in at 3.24 cents, marking a turnaround from the loss per share of 9.87 cents previously. Net asset value per share stood at 190.82 cents per share as at Dec 31 last year, compared with 179.75 cents as at the same time a year earlier.

  • AT A GLANCE

  • NET PROFIT: 
    $102.2 million (not meaningful)

    REVENUE: 
    $6.11 billion (+12.1%)

    FINAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE: 
    3 cents (-14.3%)

Olam has proposed a final dividend of three cents per share. This brings total dividends to six cents per share for the full year, unchanged from the previous year.

The group has changed its fiscal year end from June 30 to Dec 31, which means the previous financial year refers to the 18 months ended December 2015.

Olam group chief executive Sunny Verghese said: "We made steady progress in 2016 by executing on our refreshed strategic plan going into 2018 through targeted organic and inorganic investments in our prioritised platforms. We have also improved shareholder returns through share buybacks and enhanced dividend distribution in 2016."

Olam shares finished one cent or 0.5 per cent down at $2.05 yesterday, after the results were released in the morning.

Correction note: This story has been edited to make clear that industrial raw materials, Ag logistics and infrastructure is one segment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2017, with the headline 'Olam swings back into the black in Q4'. Print Edition | Subscribe