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PETALING JAYA: United Plantations Bhd (UP) benefited from higher prices of crude palm oil (CPO) and improved profitability at its refinery segment in the second quarter (2Q) as net profit rose 36% year-on-year (y-o-y) to RM184.63mil or 44.5 sen earning per share (EPS).
The plantation group, in its exchange filing yesterday, stated its upstream business gained from higher production and prices, while the refinery segment contribution rose on higher sales of finished products in the quarter.
UP’s revenue for the 2Q ended June 30, 2022, increased 45.5% y-o-y to RM701.26mil as its plantation segment registering a 25.6% increase in revenue.
For the six-month period, net profit increased 16% y-o-y to RM244.33mil or EPS of 58.9 sen, driven mainly by the 33.4% and 57.1% increases in CPO and palm kernal oil prices, respectively.
Revenue for the six months increased 52.5% y-o-y to RM1.34bil due to the increases in revenues for the plantation and refinery segments by 36.8% and 60.5%, respectively.
Recession fears gripping financial markets has resulted in commodity prices easing recently from historic highs, reversing the bullish developments which prevailed in the global markets over the last year.,
“The sharp fall in commodity prices marks a turnaround from the rallies in commodities which was due to the rapid post pandemic surge in demand, combined with supply constraints.
“The steep declines have come mainly as a function of the major central banks commencing a much tighter and frugal monetary policy by increasing interest rates in an attempt to curb inflation. This is a game changer,” UP said in its filing.
After reaching a high of above RM7,000 per tonne on the third month position in April, CPO prices have dropped to just below RM4,000 per tonne in July 2022.
Apart from global recession fears, Indonesia’s decision to halt all exports of CPO only to reverse this decision when it became untenable has created an enormous backlog of crude palm oil and refined palm fractions across the entire Indonesian archipelago, which today is the world’s largest producer and exporter of vegetable oils.
UP said it faced higher fertiliser prices as result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict while softening global growth forecasts present another challenge.
“If the government does not provide an urgent yet safe avenue to recruit guest workers, it will become impossible to avoid further crop losses in 2022 as the acute labour shortages have gone beyond the “breaking point” for many plantation companies,” the company warned.