SINGAPORE (Feb 28): Mewah International, the refiner and distributor of edible oils and fats, reported 4Q17 earnings more than doubled to US$13.1 million ($17.3 million) from US$5.4 million in 4Q16.

This brings FY17 earnings to US$33.6 million, 61.7% higher than US$20.8 million in FY16.

Revenue for the quarter was 2.4% lower at US$722.2 million from US$740.0 million last year, due to 3.1% decrease in sales volume.

Cost of sales however increased by 2.4% to US$666.4 million compared to US$651.1 million a year ago.

Hence, gross profit was 37.3% lower at US$55.8 million from US$88.9 million in the same period last year.

Other income saw a 44.5% decrease to US$1.08 million from US$1.94 million in the previous year,

During the quarter, the group registered other gains of US$9.75 million, compared to other losses of US$27.7 million last year, mainly due to foreign exchange gains and reversal of provision for legal claims.

Income tax expenses dropped 36.7% to US$7.91 million from US$12.5 million in 4Q16.

The group has proposed a final cash dividend of 0.4 cents per share, which will be payable on May 9.

On the outlook, the group expects the market to remain challenging in the immediate term due to the overhanging supplies in the market that would increase the downward pressure on crude palm oil (CPO) prices. The industry is also struggling with long standing labour shortage and rising operating costs

However, the group remains confident of its future since it is competitively positioned in the attractive part of the supply chain of the industry.

Shares in Mewah closed 1 cent lower at 28 cents on Wednesday.