Malaysia’s FGV Holdings Berhad, the world’s largest crude palm oil producer, swung to a fourth-quarter net loss on Thursday from a profit in the same period a year ago, hurt by impairment losses, provisions and lower palm oil prices.
FGV reported a net loss of RM208.8 million for the quarter ended December, versus a RM50.4 million profit a year earlier.
Revenue stood at RM3.2 billion, down from RM4.3 billion last year, in line with a drop in crude palm oil prices.
“In the fourth quarter, the plantation operations were focused on plugging leaks, revising processes and implementing new controls to bring our estate performance in line with other large players in the industry,” FGV Holding chief executive Haris Fadzilah Hassan said in a statement.
“Some of these initiatives are starting to bear fruit, but the improvements will be more visible in 2019.”
Impairments and provisions of RM240 million followed a company restructuring which trimmed the number of employees, as well as the loss-making acquisition of Asian Plantation Ltd, an oil palm plantation group.
FGV said palm oil prices this year will be driven by increasing exports to key markets, lower inventory levels and production forecasts, and higher domestic consumption from a stronger biodiesel mandate in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The company has changed its top management in recent months amid investigations into its business practices. The company has been plagued by allegations of poor management, and has seen its share price decline by about 80 percent since its listing in 2012.
The statement was released on the local stock exchange at the midday break. FGV’s shares were trading 3.4 percent lower before the break, underperforming the benchmark index which was down 0.3 percent.
Benchmark palm oil prices were last up 0.8 percent at RM2,149 a tonne.