KUALA LUMPUR: Sime Darby Plantation Bhd is cautiously optimistic over a satisfactory performance in the coming year on the back of an earnings turnaround in FY20.
It cited forecasts of elevated crude palm oil (CPO) prices and positive news over the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine globally as catalysts for a continued recovery.
"The higher palm oil prices were a blessing for all industry players in what had been one of the most challenging years in recent history for the global economy.
"Sime Darby Plantation is encouraged with its overall significantly better financial performance in 2020 and the Group is hopeful that it will be able to carry this through in the current financial year," said Sime Darby Plantations chairman Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas.
In the financial year ended Dec 31, 2020, the group recorded a net profit of RM1.2bil as compared to net loss of RM200mil in the previous year.
Group revenue was RM13.08bil versus RM12.06bil previously owing to better performances in the both upstream and downstream segments.
The group said this was owing to higher crude palm oil and kernel prices as well as improved margins and lower costs due to its ongoing business transformation programme.
For the fourth quarter of 2020, the group declared a final dividend of 5.43 sen per share.
This brings the group's total payout in FY20 to 9.44 sen a share.
Meanwhile, the group said it continues to prioritise the concerns of its stakeholders over the Withhold Release Order issued by the US Customs and Border Protection.
"We are working with independent and credible organisations to address this matter expeditiously and keeping all our stakeholders abreast on our progress.
"As part of our commitment to continuous improvement, Sime Darby Plantation is determined to proactively identify any gaps that may exist in our operations and to safeguard the well-being and safety of all our employees, especially the most vulnerable among us," said group managing director Mohamed Helmy Othman Basha.