Wilmar to pay record dividend, says it’s business as usual for Indian joint venture with Adani


SINGAPORE – Agribusiness group Wilmar International will pay out a record dividend after posting robust second-half figures on Tuesday.

The bumper result was due to improved profits across key segments and higher contributions from associates and joint ventures including Adani Wilmar, its tie-up with India’s embattled Adani Group.

Net profit rose 8.6 per cent to US$1.2 billion (S$1.6 billion) for the six months to Dec 31, up from US$1.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Revenue increased 2.8 per cent to US$37.3 billion due to stronger turnover in both the feed and industrial products, and plantation and sugar milling segments.

Wilmar’s board has proposed a final dividend of 11 Singapore cents a share for the six-month period, which will come on top of the interim dividend of six Singapore cents paid out last August.

That will bring the total payout for the 2022 financial year to 17 Singapore cents – the highest the firm has paid since listing in August 2006.

Net profit for the full year was up 27.1 per cent to US$2.4 billion on the back of an 11.6 per cent gain in revenue to US$73.4 billion.

Noting that 2022 was an “exceptional year”, Wilmar chairman and chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong said: “We benefited from increased palm oil and sugar prices, good palm processing margins and higher shipping profit due to increased freight rates.”

The company added that it is business as usual for India-listed Adani Wilmar. Adani Group has lost billions in market value in the past two months after New York-based short-seller Hindenburg accused the conglomerate of widespread corporate malfeasance, including market manipulation and accounting fraud.

Adani Wilmar was incorporated in 1999, and is now one of India’s fastest-growing packaged food companies, supplying essentials such as edible oil, wheat flour, rice, pulses and sugar. The company was recently listed on India’s National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange.

“It should be noted that the recent Hindenburg report did not raise any issues specific to Adani Wilmar. Business is as usual,” Wilmar said.

It added that Adani Wilmar’s day-to-day operations are run by independent managers with Wilmar contributing knowledge and experience in the commodity and consumer food products businesses with Adani providing local logistical and regulatory support.

In addition, the Adani Wilmar board is chaired by an independent director.

Mr Kuok said that 2023 will be “challenging” for the agribusiness giant, as plantation profits and palm processing margins are “expected to be under pressure”.

However, he added that China’s reversal of its zero-Covid policy is positive for the business.

Wilmar shares closed unchanged at S$3.98 on Wednesday and are down by more than 12 per cent in the past year.


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