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Petra Foods’ 1Q2012 Net Profit Jumps 20.5 Per cent to US$16.3 million

Petra Foods Limited, one of the world’s major manufacturers and suppliers of cocoa ingredients and branded consumer confectionery products, posted a 20.5-per cent jump in net profit attributable to shareholders to US$16.3 million (about S$20.4 million) for the first three months ending 31 March 2012 (1Q2012).

Revenue fell 7.0 per cent year-on-year to US$402.6 million in 1Q2012.

The strong bottomline performance was driven by the Branded Consumer Division, on strong sales and higher profit margin that generated EBITDA of US$18.1 million, representing a 27.3 per cent year-on-year growth. An EBITDA of US$16.4 million was achieved for the Cocoa Ingredients Division.

Petra Foods said the global environment in 2012 is expected to remain challenging with continued uncertainty over the eurozone debt situation and the fragile global economic environment.

John Chuang, Petra Food’s chief executive officer, said: “Despite these uncertainties, the performance of our Branded Consumer Division in 2012 is expected to remain strong, essentially a continuation of the growth momentum already generated in 1Q2012. The consumption environment in our regional markets is expected to remain vibrant, supported by the strong regional economies and fast growing middle income class. And we will continue to capitalise on this strong consumption trend by further extending the market reach of our products through our brand-building initiatives to drive our core portfolio of brands and through new product offerings to our consumers, including (extension) into new product categories. In tandem with our brand development initiatives, we will also be further broadening our distribution network to continue driving the growth of our business.”

“Although the cocoa ingredients started the year on a positive note, the industry and market are facing headwinds in the form of pricing pressure as a result of the excess supply situation. If the situation persists, the financial performance of our Cocoa Ingredients Division in 2012 is expected to be significantly lower than that achieved in 2011,” he added.

Petra Foods Limited closed Thursday at S$2.510.


SingTel’s Fourth-quarter Net Profit Up 30 Per cent

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel) Thursday announced that its net profit for the fourth quarter ending 31 March 2012 grew 30 per cent year-on-year to S$1.29 billion, primarily from an exceptional net tax credit of S$270 million on an increase in value of assets transferred to an associate.

Excluding this and other one-off items, underlying net profit grew 3 per cent, driven by strong mobile revenue growth from Singapore and improved contributions from the regional mobile associates. The stronger Australian dollar also lifted net profit.

In SingTel’s fourth quarter, revenue for the group rose 3 per cent to S$4.78 billion. Ordinary pre-tax earnings from the regional mobile associates grew 6 per cent to S$510 million as AIS and Telkomsel reported strong earnings growth.

For the full year, net profit increased 4 per cent to S$3.99 billion. Underlying net profit declined 3 per cent. Group revenue grew 4 per cent to S$18.83 billion, boosted by mobile growth in Singapore and Australia, as well as the stronger Australian dollar.

Chua Sock Koong, SingTel Group CEO, said: “It was a challenging quarter, but we kept focused on executing our strategy and met the guidance we had set out. The regional mobile associates turned in marked improvements in their operating and financial performance. Despite the weaker regional currencies and fair value losses, contributions from our associates rose 6 per cent.”

“We continue to review opportunities to increase our stakes in the associates and may make strategic investments to gain important capabilities, drive growth in adjacent industries and extend the group’s customer relationships,” she added.

Singapore Telecommunications Limited closed Thursday at S$3.210.


Wilmar’s 1Q2012 Revenue Up, but Net Profit Down

Agribusiness giant Wilmar International Limited Thursday announced a 34-per cent year-on-year decrease in net profit to US$255.9 million (about S$320 million) for the quarter ending 31 March 2012 (1Q2012).

It said the decline in net profit was mainly due to lower Oilseeds & Grains margins. However, the group enjoyed robust earnings growth from Palm & Laurics, Consumer Products and Plantations & Palm Oil Mills.

Revenue was up 10 per cent to US$10.47 billion for 1Q2012, driven primarily by strong volume growth across all key business segments, which resulted from consumption growth and market share gains. Average selling prices were generally lower, reflecting a drop in agricultural commodities prices from 1Q2011.

During the quarter, Palm & Laurics recorded a 20-per cent increase in sales volume to 5.2 million metric tonnes (MT) due to stronger demand.

Consumer Products recorded a 7-per cent increase in sales volume to 1.2 million MT on the back of consumption growth in edible oils, flour and rice.

Plantations & Palm Oil Mills saw a 21-per cent increase in pre-tax profit to US$98.7 million due to increased crude palm oil production and higher prices realised by the group’s own plantations. This was partially offset by higher unit production cost from increased fertiliser prices.

The Others segment saw a 105-per cent increase in pre-tax profit to US$91.5 million, mainly due to an increase in gains from investment securities.

Associates saw a 60-per cent decline to US$21.6 million, mainly due to lower profits generated by the group’s associates in China, consistent with a more challenging operating environment there.

Kuok Khoon Hong, Chairman and CEO, said: “All the other key business segments of the group, especially Palm & Laurics, are expected to perform satisfactorily for the rest of the year, while oilseeds crushing margin in China is expected to remain challenging due to excess capacity.”

Wilmar International Limited closed Thursday at S$4.270.


Ascend Capital to Acquire 8.7-per cent Stake in Wing Tai Holdings

Ascend Capital Limited (the “offeror”) Thursday announced a voluntary conditional cash partial offer of S$1.39 per share to acquire 15 per cent of the shares of Wing Tai Holdings Limited, other than the shares held in treasury and those already owned, controlled or agreed to be acquired by the offeror, the Cheng Brothers and the entities controlled by them.

Cheng Wai Keung, Wing Tai’s chairman and managing director, is the sole director and shareholder of the offeror. The partial offer is made by the offeror to increase the shareholdings of the offeror and the Cheng Brothers, and to gain statutory control of the company.

Wing Tai said the offeror and the Cheng Brothers have no intentions to gain supermajority control of the company, or seek the delisting or privatisation of the company.

Assuming that the partial offer is successful and that no new shares are issued between the offer announcement date and the close of the partial offer, the offeror will have an interest in approximately 8.7 per cent of the total number of issued shares and the offeror and the Cheng Brothers will own or control approximately 50.6 per cent of the total number of issued shares.

DBS Bank has been appointed as financial adviser to the offeror for the partial offer.

Wing Tai Holdings Limited closed Thursday at S$1.305.


PARD Records 17.5-per cent Rise in 2QFY2012 Net Profit

Mainboard-listed Pacific Andes Resources Development Limited (PARD), a leading global frozen fish supplier with an integrated supply chain spanning industrial fishing, global sourcing and ocean transportation, Thursday announced a net profit of HK$493.9 million (about S$79.6 million) for the second quarter (2QFY2012) of the financial year ending 28 September 2012, up 17.5 per cent year-on-year.

In 2QFY2012, revenue rose 35.3 per cent year-on-year to reach HK$3.3 billion.

For 1HFY2012, PARD recorded a 37.8-per cent increase in revenue from HK$4.2 billion to HK$5.8 billion following improved contributions from the frozen fish supply chain management (frozen fish SCM) division and the fishery and fish supply division. Gross profit rose by 18.4 per cent from HK$997.0 million to HK$1.2 billion in tandem with higher sales volume.

Executive Director and Chairman, Ng Joo Siang, said: “We are pleased to see that both the frozen fish SCM division and fishery and fish supply division delivered healthy growth in sales and profitability. We are particularly pleased with the 66.5-per cent jump in revenue achieved by the frozen fish SCM division, which attests to the success of our efforts to expand the group’s presence in markets such as Africa. Encouraged by our results, we will continue to work on further increasing the group’s sales through market expansion to better capture the growing demand in various markets. We are also positive on our outlook for the fishery and fish supply division, and expect improved contributions in the next quarter with the Peruvian anchovy season having commenced in May.”

“On the corporate front, the recently completed rights issue and the signing of a US$100-million transferable term loan facility have strengthened the group’s balance sheet and improved our financial flexibility. Having laid a solid foundation for our business growth going forward, we are confident of achieving yet another profitable financial year,” Ng added.


Super’s 1Q2012 Bottomline Soars on Robust Ingredient, Branded Consumer Sales

Beverage giant Super Group Ltd Thursday announced a 25-per cent surge in net profit to S$18.5 million for the first quarter ending 31 March 2012 (1Q2012), compared with S$14.7 million for the previous corresponding quarter.

This strong start to FY2012 was achieved on a 23-per cent increase in revenue to S$121.6 million, compared with S$99.1 million in 1Q2011.

Ingredient sales continued to demonstrate robust growth momentum by registering a 78-per cent increase to S$28.9 million. This growth was boosted by increased production capacity and higher demand for soluble coffee powders and non-dairy creamers from China and Southeast Asian markets.

Likewise, Branded Consumer sales registered a 12-per cent increase to S$92.7 million from higher sales in key Asian markets.

The group recently completed the construction of its packaging plant in Vietnam and the facility is expected to commence commercial production in 2H2012.

David Teo, Chairman and Managing Director, said: “The investments in freeze-dry SCP (soluble coffee powder) and BHE (botanical herbal extract) facilities will not only enhance the group’s position as a global ingredient specialist but also enable expansion into new product categories for our Branded Consumer segment.”

Super said it expects market conditions to remain competitive in the next 12 months, while raw material costs and currency fluctuations will continue to impact the group’s operating performance.

However, the management is familiar with these challenges and will take appropriate actions to mitigate their impact on the group’s businesses, it added.

Teo said: “We will continue to focus on our dual engines of growth, namely (the) Branded Consumer and Ingredients segments. The group will continue to invest in strategic priorities such as expanding our presence in this region by active brand building and product innovation, while expanding our distribution reach and manufacturing capabilities strategically.”

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Super said it looks forward to another year of growth for FY2012.

Super Group Ltd closed Thursday at S$1.940.


LMA Posts 17-per cent Increase in 1Q2012 Net Income

Mainboard-listed LMA International N.V., a leader in the laryngeal mask airway range of supraglottic airway management devices, Thursday reported that net income grew 17 per cent year-on-year to US$4.2 million (about S$5.3 million) for the three months ending 31 March 2012 (1Q2012).

Revenue increased 6 per cent to US$31.3 million in 1Q2012.

The group attributed its strong sales growth to increased anaesthesia product sales in both international and United States markets.

Including a non-cash charge of US$0.4 million, the group registered a 16-per cent year-on-year increase in net income to US$3.7 million in 1Q2012.

Trevor Swete, Executive Group Chairman of LMA, said: “We are pleased to see a continued momentum this quarter as the LMA Supreme and LMA Atomization ranges of products grow from strength to strength. Both product ranges are now very well established and sought after by anaesthesiologists and airway customers worldwide. The team is confident that with our superior products, LMA will continue to win market share in the markets it operates in.”

William Crothers, Group CEO of LMA, said: “While all key markets remain highly competitive and customers continue to be cost-aware, we remain optimistic about achieving above-market growth moving forward, especially in international markets. We will further support growth by continuing to actively seek partnerships with established and proven companies like Ace Medical and Fuji Systems to further enlarge our footprint within the anaesthesia and airway market space, while increasing our investment in education.”

LMA International N.V. closed Thursday at S$0.440.


Noble Group’s 1Q2012 Net Profit Down 46 Per cent

Noble Group Thursday reported a net profit of US$110.1 million (about S$137.7 million) for the first quarter ending 31 March 2012 (1Q2012), down 46 per cent from US$203.2 million a year ago.

It posted revenue of US$22.8 billion in 1Q2012, up 14 per cent year-on-year.

Noble said its energy segment continued to perform strongly with record revenue and record volume registered in the Oil, Gas & Power division. Its Aluminum division also recorded strong performance during the period under review.

It also expects the Agricultural segment’s performance to strengthen during the year as its Brazilian sugar mills enter the post-harvest production season.

Noble’s chairman Richard Elman said: “(The fact) that we have reported the second-highest ever quarterly operating profit from our supply chains is evidence of the progress the group has made and the broad diversity that we have built up. We enjoyed encouraging results in a difficult market; however, they are short of our true potential.”

“The efforts that we have expended in recent years in getting into new businesses and new markets are starting to pay off and we look forward to extracting value from these initiatives under our new CEO, Yusuf Alireza, who we warmly welcome to the company,” he added.

Noble Group Limited closed Thursday at S$1.170.


Tiong Seng’s Net Profit Soars 134 Per cent in 1Q2012

Mainboard-listed construction group and property developer, Tiong Seng Holdings Limited, Thursday reported a 134-per cent surge in net profit attributable to equity holders to S$5.0 million for the first quarter ending 31 March 2012 (1Q2012), boosted by higher revenue contribution from construction contracts.

Revenue recorded from construction contracts was higher at S$101.2 million, mainly due to an aggregate of S$64.5 million generated from more work done for new and ongoing projects in Singapore, such as The Wharf Residences, The Volari, Hotel at Upper Pickering Street, Hundred Trees, Tree House, Waterway Terraces I and The Glyndebourne. This was offset against an aggregate of S$19.8 million worth of less work done for projects, namely NUS Staff Housing at Kent Vale, Hilltops and Shelford Suites.

Revenue from sales of development properties in China decreased by 100 per cent as the group had yet to recognise revenue from sold units due to its revenue recognition policy. As at 31 March 2012, the group sold the remaining six units totalling 891 square metres of Tianjin Jinwan Building, and five units totalling 835 square metres of Phase 1 of the City Residence project in Cangzhou.

Revenue from the sales of goods segment dipped 14 per cent to S$1.5 million due to lower sales volume in 1Q2012.

The group continues to achieve a strong orderbook of approximately S$1.25 billion, comprising secured contracts from construction and civil engineering projects, of which the majority are expected to be fulfilled over the next 12 to 30 months.

Commenting on the construction sector’s outlook, Pek Lian Guan, CEO of Tiong Seng Holdings, said: “Although construction demand remains at healthy levels given the strong demand from the public sector in the next three years, we will remain steadfast in our pursuit of best practices to continually raise our competitive edge. This is necessary in meeting ongoing industry challenges, such as higher material costs and foreign workers’ levies, and stiff competition from large foreign contractors.”

“Tiong Seng’s productivity and efficiency will be raised to another level with the upcoming launch of our Prefab Hub later this month. Using advanced facilities for automating the manufacture of pre-cast building components, we are able to double our current output to more than 100,000 cubic metres of precast components annually, and at the same time, (reduce) labour requirements by 50 to 70 per cent. Apart from standardising the quality of our pre-cast components, gross margins are expected to improve as we ramp up production,” he added.

Regarding China’s property cooling measures, Pek said: “The market has responded to the government’s cooling measures but we see this as a temporary situation because the demand for quality housing continues to present a strong potential in the long run in view of China’s relatively lower urbanisation rate. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to monitor policy changes closely and focus on the sales and development of our projects in China.”

Tiong Seng Holdings Limited closed Thursday at S$0.205.


Yongnam Posts S$67.3-million Turnover for 1QFY2012

Yongnam Holdings Limited, a well-established structural steel contractor and specialist civil engineering solutions provider, Thursday announced a net profit of S$11.4 million on the back of a turnover of S$67.3 million for the three months ending 31 March 2012 (1QFY2012).

The 1QFY2012 net profit figure represented a 23.8-per cent drop from the S$15.0 million recorded in 1QFY2011.

Commenting on Yongnam’s performance, Chief Executive Officer Seow Soon Yong said: “In 1QFY2012, we continued to see significant contributions from Marina Coastal Expressway and MRT / MTR Specialist Civil Engineering projects in Singapore and Hong Kong. But group revenue recorded a decline of 10.1 per cent because of lower revenue contribution from Structural Steelworks as a result of the completion of projects last year and delays in start-ups in two major projects.”

“Nonetheless, we continue to win notable projects both in Singapore and overseas. As at 31 March 2012, our orderbooks stood at a healthy S$469 million. We remain cautiously optimistic that the group will perform reasonably well in FY2012 in view of a strong pipeline of projects that we are bidding for and the two delayed projects ramping up in the second half of the year,” he added.

Yongnam Holdings Limited closed Thursday at S$0.245.