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DRAGGED by higher expenses and a loss in share of results from jointly controlled entities and associates, Olam International's net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2014 fell 12 per cent to S$118.7 million.
Excluding exceptional items, operational profit after tax and minority interest (Patmi) for Q4 2014 slipped 18.5 per cent to S$105.1 million.
With the exception of "Confectionery & Beverage Ingredients", other business segments chalked declines in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) during the quarter.
Olam noted that "steady underlying growth" in most of the platforms was offset by underperformance in hazelnuts, dairy farming in Uruguay and the adverse impact of currency devaluation.
There was severe and concurrent currency devaluation against the US dollar across major markets, including Russia, Nigeria, Brazil and Australia and, to a lesser extent, Turkey, Mozambique and Indonesia, it said. This led to a net loss of S$12 million on the fair valuation of biological assets in Q4 2014 compared to a net loss of S$15.4 million in Q4 2013.
Olam brought its net gearing down to 1.85 times as at end-2014, from 2.06 times as at end-2013, and well below its 2016 objective of operating at or below 2 times.