MAJOR plantation group PPB Oil Palms Bhd has recorded an almost four-fold increase in group pre-tax profit to RM168.6mil for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2002, from RM47.2mil a year earlier, in line with the strong results reported by plantation companies recently.
Thanks to higher production of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs), oil extraction rates and palm prices, group turnover rose by 69% to RM404.6mil from RM239.4mil the year before.
Net profit for the financial year under review surged 307% to RM123.6mil from RM30.4mil previously.
On a quarterly basis, PPB Oil registered a 300% jump in pre-tax profit to RM67.9mil for the fourth quarter on the back of RM129.9mil in turnover.
Net profit for the quarter increased 316% to RM48.7mil from RM11.7mil previously, multiplying its net earnings per share (EPS) to 11.09 sen from 2.76 sen.
PPB Oil's EPS (basic) for the 12 months ended Dec 31, 2002, rose to 28.35 sen from 7.22 sen previously.
On a diluted basis, the EPS increased to 28 sen from 7.21 sen last time.
For the financial year under review, PPB Oil's oil palm area under harvesting increased to 54,648ha from 50,419ha a year earlier. Its palm oil mill production also rose, increasing to 279,559 tonnes from 253,518 a year earlier.
PPB Oil's FFB production rose to 1.05 million tonnes from 1 million tonnes a year earlier and it fetched an average selling price of RM1,299 per tonne against RM835 the previous year.
The directors have recommended a final dividend of 8 sen a share (4 sen previously), bringing total dividend to 13 sen a share less tax for the full year, compared with 7 sen a share less tax previously.
On the group's prospects for the current financial year, PPB Oil said palm oil prices had remained favourable since the beginning of the year and at current levels, profits are expected to be higher than last year.