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Astra Agro, Austindo enjoy solid business recovery

Publicly listed plantation firms Astra Agro Lestari (AALI) and Austindo Nusantara Jaya (ANJT) saw their revenues surge in 2014, a sign of solid recovery after a slowdown in the previous year.

According to its latest financial results, Astra Agro, which is part of diversified conglomerate Astra International (ASII), booked Rp 16.3 trillion (US$1.26 billion) in total revenue in 2014, up 28.6 percent year-on-year (yoy).

The growth rate was substantially higher than it achieved in 2013, when it posted annual growth of only 9.6 percent.

Astra Agro corporate secretary Tofan Mahdi attributed the encouraging performance to its intensification programs, which eventually resulted in higher crude palm oil (CPO) production.

Its January investor bulletin showed that it produced 1.74 million tons of CPO throughout 2014, rising by 13.3 percent on a yearly basis.

The higher production, according to the company, was mainly generated from its Kalimantan plantation, followed by Sulawesi and Sumatra.

Kalimantan’s CPO production rose 16.8 percent yoy, while those in Sulawesi and Sumatra increased 4.2 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.

The three plantations posted negative performances in 2013, when their harvests declined.

Despite generating higher production, the company’s sales fell, with a 12.9 percent drop in sales volume to 1.37 million tons.

However, it managed to boost its average selling price (ASP) to Rp 8,282 per kilogram from the previous Rp 7,277 per kilogram. The kernel ASP rose even higher than that of CPO, rising to Rp 5,095 per kilogram from Rp 3,452 per kilogram.

Astra Agro’s financial report reveals that the firm was also able to squeeze its foreign-exchange losses quite significantly last year, which partly contributed to a 39 percent growth in its net profits to Rp 2.5 trillion.

Its total assets amounted to Rp 18.56 trillion, with liabilities of Rp 6.72 trillion.

This year, Tofan said that the company would be on the lookout for further volatility in the CPO price, citing the slowdown in the global economy.

“Commodity prices are still low,” he said in a text message.

Meanwhile, Austindo reported that its revenue climbed almost 12.4 percent to $170.59 million last year. This was in contrast to 2013, when its revenue was down 18 percent.

The company has not published its 2014 full year financial results. However, its nine-month report shows that Austindo’s CPO production volume increased by 19.7 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

Its CPO sales volume went up as well, though only by 2.6 percent.

Austindo, controlled by the Tahija family, acquired a new land bank in Papua last year in a location close to its existing estates. It said the acquisition had created one contiguous cultivation area.

Meanwhile, even though Austindo managed to book higher revenue, rising costs meant the company posted $18.42 million in net profits, down almost 16 percent from 2013.

By the end of 2014, Austindo had $444.03 million in total assets and $68.57 million in liabilities.

Following the announcement of the financial results, Astra Agro’s shares went up 1.2 percent to Rp 24,500, while those of Austindo dropped 1.7 percent to Rp 1,170 from the previous day’s close.

Source : www.thejakartapost.com, Thursday 26 February 2015