TH Plantations posts third straight quarterly loss on weak palm prices

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 28, 2019.
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KUALA LUMPUR: TH Plantations Bhd, in which Lembaga Tabung Haji controls a 73.84% stake, announced yesterday its third consecutive quarter of net loss of RM8.09 million for the financial quarter ended March 31, 2019 as better production was hampered by weak selling prices.

This translated into a loss per share of 0.92 sen, compared to earnings per share of 0.37 sen or a net profit of RM3.23 million in the previous corresponding quarter a year ago, according to its filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

Its chief executive officer Muzmi Mohamed, in a separate statement, said the group at the operational level performed better compared with that in the same period last year, as more fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) were produced and processed while crude palm oil (CPO) output and sales also increased.

The group anticipates better production in financial year 2019 (FY19) compared with that in FY18, but said its performance will be dependent on movements of palm product prices, adding a recovery is likely to be hampered by continuously weak prices.

“However, the group’s rationalisation is on course, expecting to be in a better operational and financial position once the exercise is completed,” it added.

Its quarterly revenue fell 5% to RM115.28 million from RM121.24 million a year ago, due to lower average realised prices for CPO, palm kernel and FFB.

On top of the lower selling prices, TH Plantations booked higher amortisation charges in the quarter under review due to a higher rate based on a revised annual production yield table, as well as higher finance costs by RM4.74 million upon adopting the Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards.

The group said its FFB production increased 12% during the quarter under review, while FFB yield per hectare and oil extraction rate increased 7.7% and 20.2% respectively. The forestry business segment’s losses narrowed 17% due to lower operating expenses.

Lightly traded, TH Plantations shares closed two sen or 4.26% up at 49 sen, with a market capitalisation of RM433.09 million.