SINGAPORE (Feb 20): Agribusiness group Wilmar International reported a 70% increase in 4Q16 earnings to US$589.5 million ($836 million) from a year ago, driven by stronger performance across all business segments and recognition of deferred tax assets of US$142.1 million for the group’s Indonesian operations.

Wilmar said the Tropical Oils and Oilseeds & Grains segments continued their good performance in 4Q16, while the Sugar segment benefited from higher sugar prices and the extension of the season for milling activities in Australia.

“Together with improved contributions from associates, 4Q16 was the best performing quarter for the year,” said Wilmar in its aftermarket results filing.

Revenue grew 27% to US$11.95 billion in 4Q16 from US$9.43 billion in 4Q15, mainly due to higher commodity prices and stronger sales volume.

Tropical Oils (Plantation, Manufacturing & Merchandising) reported a 94% increase in pre-tax profit to US$184.3 million from the same period a year ago.

Oilseeds & Grains (Manufacturing & Consumer Products) registered an 8% improvement in pre-tax profit to US$177.9 million.

Sugar (Milling, Merchandising, Refining & Consumer Products) reported a 68% increase in pre-tax profit to US$135.9 million.

The Others segment recorded higher pre-tax profit of US$32.7 million in 4Q16 mainly from the Shipping and Fertiliser businesses and gains from investment securities.

Share of results of Joint Ventures & Associates increased by 10% to US$67.6 million in 4Q2016 and 35% to US$140.9 million in FY15.

For the FY16 ended December 31, 2016, the increase in sales volume, partially offset by lower commodity prices experienced during the first quarter of the year, resulted in a 7% increase in revenue to US$41.4 billion from US$38.78 billion a year ago.

Wilmar is proposing a final tax exempt (one-tier) dividend of 4 cents per share. Including the interim dividend of 2.5 cents per share paid in August 2016, the total dividend paid and proposed for FY16 is 6.5 cents per share, representing a dividend payout of around 30% for FY2016.

Kuok Khoon Hong, Chairman and CEO of Wilmar said, “The strong performance in the fourth quarter enabled the Group to overcome the losses incurred in the second quarter of the year and achieve satisfactory performance for the full year. All segments achieved good volume and margin growth during the second half of the year. Looking ahead, the recent lifting of restrictions in China on oilseeds and grains processing on foreign companies is expected to benefit our operations. Barring unforeseen circumstances, performance in 2017 is expected to be satisfactory.”

Shares of Wilmar closed 4 cents lower at $3.90.