Wilmar posts 5.7% slide in Q3 earnings

Workers at Wilmar International's plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. The agribusiness group's net profit for the three months to Sept 30 slid 5.7 per cent to US$370 million (S$503.4 million).
Workers at Wilmar International's plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. The agribusiness group's net profit for the three months to Sept 30 slid 5.7 per cent to US$370 million (S$503.4 million).PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Weaker results in the tropical oils and sugar businesses hit earnings at Wilmar International in the third quarter and offset a good performance from the oilseeds and grains segment and strong contributions from associates.

Net profit for the three months to Sept 30 slid 5.7 per cent to US$370 million (S$503.4 million), from US$392.2 million in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue inched up 0.4 per cent to US$11.13 billion, supported by higher sales from the oilseeds and grains business, the agribusiness group told the Singapore Exchange yesterday.

Net profit for the nine months shot up 92.4 per cent to US$791.8 million, due to the strong set of results in the first half, as revenue rose 9.7 per cent to US$32.3 billion.

During the quarter, pretax profit in the tropical oils segment dropped 50.9 per cent to US$83.1 million on the back of lower processing margins, although this was partially offset by higher production yield and volume in the plantation business during the quarter.

The oilseeds and grains segment registered a 2.2 per cent growth in pretax profit to US$253.7 million, driven by higher crush volume and good crush margins.

Pretax profit for the sugar segment fell 12.9 per cent to US$75.2 million due to the timing effect from the new sugar marketing programme in Australia, under which a certain proportion of sugar produced would only be sold in subsequent quarters. This was partially mitigated by a better performance in the merchandising business.

The others segment saw pretax profit jump 60.4 per cent to US$56.4 million, thanks to higher dividend income, together with gains from the group's investment portfolio and the shipping and fertiliser businesses.

Positive contributions of US$51.3 million from the share of results of joint ventures and associates - mainly from the group's India, Eastern Europe and Morocco associates - helped prop up the bottom line as well, compared with US$28.6 million previously.

Earnings per share for the quarter came in at 5.9 US cents, lower than the 6.2 US cents previously. Net asset value per share was up at 243.3 US cents as at Sept 30, from 228.5 US cents as at Dec 31 last year.

Chairman and chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong said the group expects the good performance in the oilseeds and grains segment to continue into the fourth quarter, with crush margins and volume remaining positive.

The performance of the other major business segments is expected to be satisfactory, he added.

"With good economic performance in key Asian countries, we remain optimistic about the future of Asia. We will continue with our expansion plans, especially in oilseeds and grains, including consumer products," said Mr Kuok.

Wilmar shares closed 0.3 per cent or one Singapore cent up at $3.32 on Monday, before the results were out.