KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 30): Lower tax and higher non-operating income helped Lotte Chemical Titan Holding Bhd (LCT) record a 30% improvement in net profit to RM378.15 million in its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 (4QFY17), from RM290.86 million a year ago.
Earnings per share were however diluted at 16.64 sen, from 16.83 sen in 4QFY16.
Quarterly revenue declined by a marginal 1.4% to RM2.12 billion from RM2.15 billion in 4QFY16, primarily due to reduced plant load at its Indonesia polyethylene plant and decrease in sales volume of by-product. Average plant utilisation stood at 86% in the quarter under review against 90% in 4QFY16.
The group also recommended a first and final dividend of 23 sen per share for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17), up from 6.95 sen a year ago, subject to shareholders' approval at the forthcoming annual general meeting, payable on a date to be announced later.
For the full FY17, LCT saw net profit decline by 19.1% to RM1.06 billion from RM1.32 billion the previous year, no thanks to lower margin spread amid lower utilisation rates of its facilities.
Revenue also slid 3.84% to RM7.82 billion, from RM8.14 billion in FY16, amid lower sales volume as a result of two statutory routine turnaround activities in its Malaysian facilities, but offset by a 17.2% increase in average product selling price.
On prospects, LCT anticipates demand growth for petrochemicals will outpace the rate of new supplies in the region, resulting in a resilient market in the near term.
"We expect our production output in 2018 to be normalised in view of no major planned plant shut down. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, our board expects our performance for FY18 to remain positive," it added.
At 2.22pm, LCT shares were traded up 6 sen or 1.18% at RM5.14, with 330,000 shares done, giving it a market capitalisation of RM11.68 billion.