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Petra Q4 profit falls 93.5%; to distribute US$0.0982 per share from excess cash

PETRA Foods' fourth-quarter net profit fell 93.5 per cent to US$800,000 amid a weaker Indonesian economy, but the company is planning a distribution of 9.82 US cents per share from excess cash.

The chocolate confectioner posted earnings per share of 0.13 US cents for the three months ended December 2015. For the full year, the company incurred a net loss of US$4.7 million, or 0.77 US cents per share, after incurring US$20.1 million of exceptional items mostly related to a one-time exceptional charge of US$19.4 million following the settlement of a dispute.

Revenue shrank by 23.8 per cent during the quarter to US$100 million. The slowdown in the Indonesian economy, the weakness of the Indonesian rupiah, increased advertising spending and the closure of a distribution business in Singapore all contributed to the weaker results, Petra said.

The company on Aug 28 said it had agreed to pay US$38.8 million to Barry Callebaut as an adjustment to Petra's 2013 sale of its cocoa ingredients business. No longer having to provide for Barry Callebaut's claim of US$103 million allowed Petra to reassess its cash requirements, Petra said.

The company said that of the US$111.65 million of cash it held, it will distribute US$60 million to shareholders and retain US$51.65 million for operations.

The distribution, which will be carried out via a capital reduction, will give shareholders 9.82 US cents per share. The capital reduction and distribution are subject to shareholder approval.

Petra stock closed at S$2.39 on Monday.