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First Resources Q4 earnings climb 84.6% on higher production, sales volumes

INDONESIAN palm oil producer First Resources saw an 84.6 per cent surge in net profit to US$32 million for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2019, from US$17.3 million a year ago.

This was boosted by higher production and sales volumes during the quarter, the mainboard-listed firm said in results released on Wednesday.

Earnings per share stood at 2.02 US cents for the quarter, up from 1.09 US cents for the year-ago period.

Revenue for Q4 grew 26.6 per cent on the year to S$184.2 million, from US$145.5 million.

The board of directors proposed a final dividend of 1.725 Singapore cents per share for 2019, down from two Singapore cents for 2018.

Once approved by shareholders at the annual general meeting on April 24, the dividend will be paid on May 14. Books closure is on May 6.

For the full year to Dec 31, 2019, net profit sank 25.7 per cent to US$89.1 million, while revenue inched down by 2.9 per cent to US$614.9 million.

The weaker full-year performance was largely due to softer palm oil prices, First Resources said.

Palm oil prices rallied in Q4 2019 on expectations of tightening supply and inventory drawdowns, said chief executive officer Ciliandra Fangiono.

However, recent concerns over the novel coronavirus outbreak have been “an overhang” on crude palm oil prices due to downside risk to demand from China, he added.

The group believes that supply-demand dynamics of the palm oil industry remain favourable, thanks to expectations of a slowdown in production growth amid dry weather and lower fertiliser application last year, as well as a boost from Indonesia’s B30 biodiesel mandate.

Shares of First Resources fell S$0.06 or 3.5 per cent to close at S$1.65 on Tuesday.