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Wilmar Q4 net profit down 24% due to tropical oil and sugar segments

CONTINUED challenging conditions in Wilmar International's tropical oils and sugar segments dampened results for the firm in its fourth quarter.

Net profit dived 23.8 per cent to US$427.5 million from the previous year, the group said in a Singapore Exchange filing on Thursday evening.

For the three months ended Dec 31, revenue slid 3.3 per cent to US$11.55 billion from the year-ago period. The drop in revenue was due to lower sales volume and weaker average selling prices, it said.

Earnings per share fell to 6.8 US cents from 8.9 US cents in the year-ago period.

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Wilmar said its tropical oils segment had lower processing margins in the downstream business, which was exacerbated by lower production yield and crude palm oil prices during the quarter.

The sugar segment, meanwhile, was affected by the timing of a new sugar marketing programme in Australia. Under this programme, certain proportion of sugar produced from the milling operations will only be sold in the first half of 2018.

For the full year, Wilmar recorded a 25.4 per cent rise in net profit to US$1.22 billion, on the back of a 5.9 per cent increase in revenue to US$43.8 billion.

Wilmar chairman and CEO Kuok Khoon Hong said the group's performance in 2018 is expected to be satisfactory, barring unforeseen circumstances.

"In the meantime, we continue to work on the proposed listing of our China operations, with the internal restructuring of the operations largely completed," he said in a statement.

"As the proposed listing is still at evaluation stage, shareholders are advised to exercise caution in trading their shares. There is no certainty or assurance as at the date of this announcement that the listing proposal will be carried out."

The group's board has proposed a final dividend of 7 Singapore cents a share. Including the interim dividend of 3 Singapore cents paid in August last year, the total dividend for 2017 amounts to 10 Singapore cents, compared with 6.5 Singapore cents in the 2016 financial year.