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Wilmar Q3 net profit rises 20% to US$536.6m; proposes special dividend for successful YKA listing

MAINBOARD-listed agri-business group Wilmar International posted a 20 per cent rise in net profit for the third fiscal quarter ended September to US$536.6 million from US$447.1 million in the year-ago period.

Wilmar's core net profit came in at US$501.4 million, some 19.6 per cent higher than US$419.2 million last year. This was also the group's highest third quarter core net profit figure since its listing, it told shareholders in a bourse filing on Friday. (see amendment note)

Revenue for the quarter rose 19.3 per cent to US$13.32 billion from US$11.16 billion in the corresponding period last year. The company said all its core segments contributed more than the previous year to both its revenue and profit figures on the back of strong demand for its food products and higher crushing activities amid the easing of the African Swine Fever situation in China.

Both top line and bottom line figures were further boosted by better performance in the company's plantation and sugar milling segment due to higher prices achieved during the quarter, it added. Refining margins for the group's tropical oil and sugar refining operations, too, remained "robust", it said.

Segmentally, both units of the group's food products business - the consumer products and medium pack and bulk segments - reported year-on-year increases in sales of 18.2 per cent and 14.8 per cent to 2.5 million and five million tonnes respectively.

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Under the food and industrial products business, the oilseeds and grains as well as sugar segments booked increases in sales of 23.7 per cent and 50.7 per cent to 6.3 million and 4.5 million tonnes respectively. The tropical oils segment, however, bucked the trend with a 7.5 per cent decline in sales to 5.6 million tonnes.

Wilmar also said it had enjoyed stronger contributions from its associates and joint ventures, particularly from India and Africa.

However, due partially to higher working capital requirements amid an increase in raw material prices during the quarter, the group suffered an 86.7 per cent decline in cash flows from operating activities to US$162.1 million from US$1.22 billion last year.

However, the group said it had unutilised banking facilities of some US$22.49 billion as at end-September.

In commemoration of the successful listing of its Chinese unit Yihai Kerry Arawana (YKA) which began trading on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange on Oct 15, Wilmar is proposing a special dividend for shareholders, which will collectively amount to 15 per cent of the total initial public offering (IPO) proceeds.

A Wilmar spokesperson told The Business Times that the dividends would total around US$300 million.

Details of the special dividend will be disclosed in February next year, together with the release of Wilmar's full-year results.

Looking ahead, the company said that its range of quality food products is likely to benefit from the containment of the coronavirus in China and the rebound of the Chinese economy, as well as greater emphasis on the importance of eating safer and healthier food by consumers. In addition, the group is expecting volume to pick up in Asian countries where lockdown measures have eased.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Wilmar is also expecting its financial results for its final quarter to be good.

Wilmar shares closed at S$4.04 on Friday prior to the results announcement, down one Singapore cent or 0.3 per cent.

Amendment note: An earlier version of the article incorrectly stated this was Wilmar's third highest quarterly results. The article has been revised to reflect this change. 

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