Higher CPO prices push up Boustead Plantations' profit

Positive outlook: Boustead Plantations says prospects are positive as CPO prices are expected to remain high for the first quarter of 2017.

PETALING JAYA: Boustead Plantations Bhd turned in a net profit of RM50.29mil for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31 from a net loss of RM975,000 a year ago.

This was achieved on better palm product prices that compensated for the shortfalls in fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production.

The fourth quarter also saw the company’s revenue rising by 20.36% to RM196.65mil from the previous corresponding period.

Boustead Plantations also recorded a strong performance for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2016 with a higher net profit of RM227.79mil compared with RM78.61mil in the previous year.

This is mainly due to gains realised from the disposal of land in Kulaijaya, Johor, and the disposal of Boustead Sedili Sdn Bhd that amounted to RM158mil.

The company said in a statement that higher palm product prices also contributed to the stronger profit.

“We are pleased with our performance in 2016. Not only did we successfully ride the wave of improved crude palm oil (CPO) prices, but the disposal of land also most certainly contributed to our bottom line,” vice-chairman Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin said in the statement.

“Moving forward, prospects are positive as CPO prices are expected to remain high for the first quarter of 2017, largely due to slower production and dwindling palm oil stocks.

“However, we are mindful that this could be impacted in the second half of the year on the back of the expected bumper crop of palm oil in Malaysia and Indonesia,” he added.

Boustead Plantations’ board has declared a fourth interim dividend of 3.5 sen per share that will be paid on March 16, 2017 to shareholders who have registered as at March 3, 2017. This will bring cumulative dividends paid to 14.5 sen per share.

On its performance, the company said the average selling price for CPO for 2016 was RM2,584 per tonne, up by 20% from RM2,148 per tonne last year, while the average palm kernel (PK) price saw a 60% increase to RM2,460 per tonne.

“FFB production dropped to 908,576 tonnes, mainly due to the adverse weather caused by the prolonged El Nino phenomenon, ongoing land disputes in Sarawak and a shortage of labour.

“The average oil extraction rate was 21.5% while the kernel extraction rate was 4.4%, marginally lower than last year,” the company said.

It said Peninsular Malaysia continued to be the main contributor, recording an increased profit of RM74mil compared with RM35mil last year, reflecting a 109% increase.

This was driven by higher palm product prices while FFB production was at 385,653 tonnes.

Boustead Plantations said its operations in Sabah also delivered a higher profit for the year amounting to RM72mil, marking a substantial jump from RM29mil in the previous year.

This was mainly due to better palm product prices while FFB crop stood at 384,339 tonnes.

Meanwhile, the company said its operations in Sarawak recorded a profit of RM8mil, which is an improvement from the loss of RM4mil last year, on the back of higher palm product prices. FFB crop came in at 138,584 tonnes.

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