Sime Darby Plantation's 4Q hit by lower palm prices and fruit production

From left: Sime Darby Plantation deputy executive chairman and MD Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh with CFO Renaka Ramachandran at the group's 4Q results announcement. Photo by Kenny Yap

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 30): Sime Darby Plantation Bhd's net profit for the fourth quarter ended June 30, 2018 (4QFY18) declined 99% to RM30 million from RM2.63 billion in the previous corresponding quarter on lower crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel prices amid poorer fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia today, Sime Darby Plantation said revenue fell to RM3.08 billion from RM3.69 billion in the previous year.

Sime Darby Plantation said, "Recurring profit before interest and tax of RM472 million was 22% lower mainly due to lower profits from the upstream operations arising from lower average CPO and palm kernel prices realised, as well as marginally lower production of FFB."

"The group reported a net non-recurring loss of RM283 million arising from impairment losses recognised in the quarter under review, as compared to a net gain of RM2.2 billion in the previous year's corresponding quarter. Lower finance costs at RM44 million arising from lower borrowings partially mitigated the group's results," Sime Darby Plantation said.

For its full financial year ended June 30, 2018 (FY18), the group said net profit fell 50.71% to RM1.73 billion from RM3.51 billion a year earlier. Revenue was lower at RM14.37 billion versus RM14.78 billion a year ago, according to the group.

"Barring any extreme weather abnormalities, the group expects FFB production to improve in the next six months ending Dec 31, 2018 and CPO prices to remain under pressure, mainly due to rising production, higher inventories and sluggish export demand. However, demand is expected to improve, especially with the upcoming festive season and the recent move by India to raise import duties on other soft oils as well as a weaker ringgit, which are expected to support CPO prices," Sime Darby Plantation said.

Its board has recommended a final single tier dividend of 8.0 sen per share for FY18, bringing total single tier dividend for the period to 11.5 sen per share.