KUCHING (June 30): Sarawak-based Kim Loong Resources Bhd’s (Kim Loong) annualised results for the first quarter of financial year 2024 (1QFY24) exceeded expectations due to a higher than estimated milling pre-tax profit margin.
AmInvestment Bank Bhd (AmInvestment Bank) recalled that Kim Loong raised the processing charge for its milling division by RM15 per tonne to a range of RM50 to RM75 per tonne in 2QFY22 due to higher costs of compliance and spare parts.
“Kim Loong’s 1QFY24 net profit slid by 19.7 per cent year on year (y-o-y) to RM31.5 million, dragged by lower palm product prices and higher costs of production,” it said yesterday.
“However, 1QFY24 gross profit margin grew to 18.1 per cent from 13.8 per cent in 1QFY12 as milling pre-tax profit margin expanded.”
Although fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production climbed by 19.2 per cent y-o-y in 1QFY24, AmInvestment Bank said this was not enough to offset the impact of the fall in crude palm oil (CPO) price.
To note, 1QFY24 average realised CPO price declined by 35.8 per cent to RM4,050 per tonne from RM6,309 per tonne in 1QFY23.
“On a positive note, the milling division’s 1QFY24 pre-tax profit doubled to RM21.7 million from RM11.1 million in 1QFY23, driven by an increase in processing margin,” AmInvestment Bank said.
“The unit’s 1QFY24 pre-tax profit margin surged to 6.8 per cent from 2.2 per cent in 1QFY23. The milling division accounted for 42.2 per cent of Kim Loong’s pre-tax profit in 1QFY24 while plantation made up a larger 57.8 per cent.
“Comparing 1QFY24 against 4QFY23, Kim Loong’s net profit declined by 14.6 per cent quarter on quarter (q-o-q) to RM31.5 mil due to higher costs of production and lower FFB production.
“1QFY24 average realised CPO price inched up to RM4,050 per tonne from RM3,970 per tonne in 4QFY23. FFB production retreated by 12.4 per cents q-o-q in 1QFY24.”
Researchers with Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd (Malacca Securities) said that as of 1QFY24, Kim Loong’s total planted area stood at 15,940 hectares, which it saw was relatively unchanged from 4QFY23.
This comes as Kim Loong maintained a healthy tree profile (immature at five per cent, young mature at 19 per cent, prime mature at 26 per cent, old mature at 19 per cent and pre-replanting at 31 per cent).
It gathered that no re-planting activities took place during the quarter.
“Although CPO prices hovered largely below our assumption of RM4,000 per nMT in 2023, we reckon that downside will be cushioned by the onset of the periodic dry weather phenomenon (El Nino) that threaten production,” Malacca Securities said.
“According to the Environment Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, this phenomenon may extend into April 2024.
“Still, we expect upsides to be capped as demand may remain sluggish, owing to the worsening of global economic outlook, persistently high inflation and elevated
interest rates environment.
“Given the reported earnings came largely in line, we made no changes to our earnings forecast for Kim Loong as we expect CPO prices is expected to trade at an average RM3,500 to RM4,000 per metric tonne for the remainder of the year.”