PALM-OIL planter Bumitama Agri's net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2015, plunged 41 per cent to 181.57 billion Indonesian rupiah (S$18.44 million), compared to 307.84 billion rupiah in the year-ago period, mainly due to the lower selling price of both crude palm oil and palm kernel, higher cost of sales, foreign-exchange loss and share of loss of associate companies.
Revenues for the quarter held steady at 1.33 trillion rupiah, down 1.7 per cent from 1.36 trillion rupiah in the year-ago period. The decrease was attributable to the drop in average selling price of crude palm oil and palm kernel, which offset the increase in sales volume of both products.
The group expects crude palm oil prices to remain soft in the near term due to ample supply of other competing vegetable oils such as soya-bean oil, weak crude oil prices and concerns on lacklustre demand for palm oil as the price between soya-bean oil and crude palm oil narrows.
However, Indonesia's mandate to increase the blending rate of palm oil to diesel oil from 10 to 15 per cent (B15), the increase in biodiesel subsidy to 4,000 rupiah per litre and plans to impose levy on export to fund the B15 programme should provide support to prices by sustaining demand for biodiesel, the group said.
In the long term, palm-oil industry fundamental remains strong as palm oil is the most consumed edible oil in the world, the group added. It will continue to focus on its yield and production improvement, cost containment and capacity building.
Earnings per share for the quarter were 103 rupiah while net asset value per share was 4,121 rupiah. No dividends were declared for the quarter.
On Monday, Bumitama Agri's counter closed trading at S$0.97.