KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Plantations Bhd swung into the red with a net loss of RM16.20 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 (Q1 2019), dragged down by lower palm product prices and higher interest expenses.
The company registered a net profit of RM5.26 million in the same period last year.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, Boustead Plantations said its revenue also slipped to RM134.91 million from RM154.60 million previously as the group continued to be affected by significantly lower palm product prices during the quarter under review.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement, the company said average crude palm oil (CPO) selling price in Q1 2019 was RM2,017 per tonne, down 19% compared with the same quarter last year, and the average palm kernel price declined by 41% year-on-year to RM1,300 per tonne.
“Fresh fruit bunches production in Q1 2019 grew to 258,996 tonnes, 14% higher than the previous year’s corresponding quarter, the average oil extraction rate increased to 21.4%, while average kernel extraction rate was stable at 4.5%,” it said.
Despite the challenging period for the group, a company spokesperson said in the statement that the board of directors still declared a single tier interim dividend of one sen per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019.
“The dividend will be paid on June 28, 2019 to shareholders registered as at June 11, 2019,” he said.
Moving forward, the spokesperson said the group remained optimistic on long-term prospects, as demand for palm oil was projected to grow on the back of insufficient supplies of other edible oils, increased imports by China and higher biodiesel blending mandates in Indonesia.
“Although price recovery will continue to be capped by high palm oil inventories, CPO prices are expected to be supported in the near-term by the upcoming festive season, coupled with increased exports to India due to a reduction in import duties,” he added.