SINGAPORE - Commodities trader Olam International booked a fiscal first-quarter profit attributable to owners of the company of $157.97 million, a rise of 9.8 per cent, on the back of an 8.5 per cent bump in the sale of goods and services to $6.3 billion.
Lower net finance costs and taxation helped lift the bottom line.
Ebitda (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) fell by 7.7 per cent to $368.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018, from $398.6 million for the corresponding quarter last year.
Olam's net finance costs slipped to $87.4 million for first quarter 2018 from $139.6 million for first quarter 2017, largely as a result of lower net debt and changes in borrowings mix as compared to a year ago.
Sales volume rose by 56.1 per cent compared with first quarter 2017, mainly due to higher trading volumes in grains for the quarter.
Olam announced that in January 2018, it acquired a 30 per cent stake in Vietnam's second-largest cashew processor Long Son Joint Stock Company for U$20 million.
The transaction allowed Olam to secure higher volumes for marketing of kernels to meet increased Asian demand, the company said.
Additionally in March, Olam disposed of its entire 50 per cent interest in Nauvu Investments to Wilmar International for some U$148 million. Nauvu was a 50:50 joint venture between Olam and Wilmar which held investments in the SIFCA Group.
Olam also disposed of its wholly owned Indonesian subsidiary PT ACE Dalle Kokoa Manufaktur, which held land as primary asset, to PT Mega Khatulistiwa Propertindo, for around U$14 million.
"Olam will continue to execute on its 2016-2018 strategic plan in 2018 and pursue growth in its prioritised platforms while putting sustainability at the heart of its business. It remains focused on turning around underperforming businesses, ensuring gestating businesses reach full potential and delivering positive free cash flow," the company said.