Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Palm oil producers' profits up

Aggressive campaigns led by Greenpeace against palm oil industry's alleged unsustainable practices have not hurt the bottomline of top palm oil producers.

At least two major palm oil players listed on Singapore Stock Exchange have reported a jump in their profits. Golden Agri Resources said last week that its first quarter net profit surged 10-fold on year to $88.5 million.

The company said it expects demand for crude palm oil from the renewable energy sector to continue to grow in view of the increasing push by governments to expand renewable energy capacity.

Global Agri Resources operates a planted area of 427,000 hectares, as well as 34 palm oil processing mills, three refineries and six kernel crushing plants in Indonesia.

During the same week, Wilmar International, the world's largest palm oil producer, declared a better than expected 6% rise in first quarter profits. The first quarter earning of the company stood at $401 million, up from $380 million in the same period last year. The company's first quarter revenue however climbed 36% to $6.8 billion.

Early this year, Wilmar had reported a record profit of $1.88 bn for the year 2009, up 23% over the previous year. Pre-tax profit from plantations and palm oil mills grew 41% to $122.2 million.

Another top palm oil producer Sinar Mas which was recently suspended by Nestle following a Greenpeace campaign reported that its first quarter operating income more than doubled compared with the same period last year. The company operates 134,770 hectares of palm plantations in Indonesia.

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