SINGAPORE — Wilmar International reported on May 10 that net profit for the first quarter ended March 31 increased 3.2% to $239.4 million from $232 million in the same period a year earlier.

Earnings per share increased 5.6% to 3.8¢ from 3.6¢ a year earlier.

The pretax profit for the group for the first quarter was $321.3 million, up 8.3% compared to $296.6 million in the same period of last year. Revenue for the first quarter was down 4.3% from $9.411 billion to $9.002 billion due to lower commodity prices.

The Oilseeds and Grains segment saw a pretax profit of $168.813 million, up 1.6% compared to $166.084 million in the same period of last year.

The strong segment profits were achieved on the back of volume and margins growth in the company’s Consumer Products business and continued improvements from its rice and flour operations, Wilmar said. 

Oilseeds and Grains Manufacturing and Consumer Products saw an increase in sales volume. Manufacturing reported a 13.1% increase to 5.462 million tonnes. Consumer Products sales were 1.723 million tonnes, up 12.7% compared to 1.529 million tonnes in the same period of last year. The total sales volume for Oilseeds and Grain segment increased 800,000 tonnes to 7.2 million tonnes in the first quarter. 

For the first quarter Manufacturing saw revenue of $2.436 billion, down 2.6% from $2.501 billion in the same period of last year. The Consumer Products saw revenue of $2.060 billion, an increase of 5.3% in the first quarter.

“We expect the recent improvement in CPO process to benefit our plantation business,” said Kuok Khoon Hong, chairman and chief executive officer of Wilmar. “However, this will be partially offset by lower margins in our downstream businesses due to higher feedstock costs. Consumer Products will continue to achieve healthy growth although crush margins are expected to come under pressure as a result of excessive soybean arrivals into China in the coming months and amidst volatile markets. Operating conditions in the second quarter are expected to be challenging.”