Olam's Q4 profit down in absence of exceptional gain

Earnings fell sharply at commodity trader Olam International in the fourth quarter in the absence of an exceptional gain realised in the preceding year.

Net profit came in at $75.3 million for the three months to Dec 31 last year, down 71.6 per cent from a year ago.

Operational profit after tax and minority interests fell 34.4 per cent to $72 million, as lower takings from the peanuts, coffee, rice and dairy businesses offset growth in cocoa, packaged foods and wood products.

Revenue was $8.5 billion, up 16.9 per cent on higher trading volumes.

Fourth-quarter earnings per share was 1.92 cents, down from 8.20 cents for the fourth quarter of 2017.

Group chief executive Sunny Verghese said: "Compared with a strong performance in the previous year, our 2018 performance has been below our expectations amid tougher than anticipated market conditions, particularly in the second half of the year.

"Looking ahead, we are focused on executing on our strategic plan for 2019 to 2024 by investing in high-growth businesses in our portfolio where we have clear winnability. This will help us capitalise on key consumer trends, enabling us to achieve sustainable and profitable growth."

  • AT A GLANCE

  • Q4 REVENUE: 

    $8.5 billion (+16.9%)

    Q4 NET PROFIT: 

    $75.3 million (-71.6%)

    TOTAL DIVIDEND PER SHARE FOR 2018: 

    7.5 cents

Olam made a net profit of $347.8 million for the full year, down 40.1 per cent from 2017, despite a 16 per cent rise in revenue to $30.5 billion as the increased trading volumes from grains had a lower selling price than other products.

A final dividend of four cents was declared, unchanged from a year ago. That brings total dividend to 7.5 cents a share for 2018, unchanged from 2017.

Net asset value per share was 193.38 cents as at Dec 31, 2018, down from 200.05 cents as at the end of 2017.

Olam shares closed down 2.49 per cent to $1.96 after the results were released yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2019, with the headline 'Olam's Q4 profit down in absence of exceptional gain'. Print Edition | Subscribe