United Plantations Q2 profit rises, but labour shortage clouds outlook

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- United Plantations Bhd's (UP) net profit advanced to RM135.78 million in the second quarter (Q2) ended June 30, 2021 from RM123.59 million in the same period last year.

Revenue also improved to RM481.86 million from RM294.32 million previously, the oil palm and coconut plantation group said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2021, UP saw its net profit grew to RM210.61 million from RM204.78 million from the corresponding period last financial year mainly due to 18.3% and 58.3% increase in revenue from the plantation and refinery segments respectively.

On prospects and outlook, it said the Malaysian palm oil industry had been severely impacted by labour shortages following travel restrictions due the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shortages of workers combined with the risk of rising COVID-19 infections rate would be the biggest risk for the plantation industry as well as for UP for the remaining 2021, it said.

"Palm oil prices have been very volatile during the first half of 2021 and have traded between RM3,200 and RM4,500 per tonne.

"Currently prices are trading at around RM3,850 per tonne for the third month on the futures market and in the near term it is expected that prices will remain supportive," it said.

Meanwhile, UP said inventories remained low for the main producing countries.

It also said production is expected to remain tight until issues involving labour shortages at plantations were resolved, while demand from buyers like China and India as well as consumption in Indonesia (both edible and biodiesel demand) remained high.

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