SINGAPORE (Feb 26): Jet fuel trader China Aviation Oil (Singapore) (CAO) has reported earnings of US$21.2 million ($29.7 million) for 4QFY2019 ended December, 13.2% up from the US$18.7 million logged a year ago.

This comes on the back of a higher gross profit, brought on by greater gains from its supply of jet fuel and trading and optimisation activities, the group noted in a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Total revenue for the quarter came in at US$5.1 billion, 16.6% up from the US$4.3 billion for the corresponding period a year ago.

Overall, CAO’s earnings for FY2019 was up 6.4% to US$99.8 million, from US$93.9 million in FY2018.

On a fully diluted basis, earnings per share for FY2019 was 11.6 US cents, from 10.9 cents in FY2019.

Revenue for the year was down 1.3% to US$20.3 billion, following a decrease in oil prices and a resultant dip in average prices of jet fuel to US$77.30 per barrel, compared to US$85.04 per barrel in FY2018. The extent of the decline was mitigated by a 9.97% increase in revenue from its middle distillates.

Even so, total supply and trading volume was up 5.97% to 36.9 million tonnes, due to strong growth in trading activities and higher demand for imported jet fuel from China.

Of this, the volume for middle distillates was up 22.2% to 22.3 million tonnes, while that for gasoil was up 51.3% to 5.99 million tonnes. 

This was partially offset by a decrease in the trading volumes of other oil products, which fell 11.8% to 14.7 million tonnes.

Meanwhile, operating profit grew 43.9% to US$40.9 million, from higher gross profit margins.

This comes as total expenses dipped 8.5% to US$23.4 million, mainly due to a drop in interest expenses.

The share of profits from associates was down 9.8% to US$58.8 million for FY2019, on account of lower profit contributions from Shanghai Pudong International Airport Aviation Fuel Supply Company (Pudong).

As at December, cash and cash equivalents stood at US$340.6 million.

CAO’s board has proposed a final cash dividend of 4.7 cents per share, up from 4.5 cents a year ago. The payment date will be announced at a later date, subject to shareholders’ approval at an upcoming annual general meeting. 

“2019 was a year of unprecedented uncertainties with concerns of geopolitical and economic tensions as well as economic volatility. Despite [this], the group remained focused on the continued strategic progress and global expansion of its business” acknowledges Wang Yanjun, the group’s CEO and executive director.

To this end, Wang is looking at improving to improve operational efficiencies so CAO delivers sustainable and profitable growth. 

“We will continue to leverage on the group’s core competencies to expand our presence on the global platform [for jet fuel supply and trading]. For other oil products, we will continue to build up structural advantages globally, complemented by opportunities to acquire or invest in synergistic businesses or assets,” says Wang.

As at 4.17pm, shares at CAO were down 1.71% at $1.15.