Tue, 29 Jul 2003

Profit from Astra's palm oil unit soars by 60.5%

Rendi A. Witular, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Indonesia's largest crude palm oil (CPO) producer PT Astra Agro Lestari (AAL) has announced that its net profit for the first semester of this year skyrocketed by 60.5 percent, thanks to the rise in sales volume and selling prices.

The company is 64 percent owned by automotive kingpin Astra International.

In its report to the Jakarta Stock Exchange on Monday, the company said that it recorded a net profit of Rp 155.2 billion (US$18.2 million) in the first half of this year, up from Rp 96.7 billion in the same period last year.

The increase in the net profit boosted AAL's earning per share to Rp 101, from Rp 63 a year earlier.

High demand for CPO in the international market during the first half increased AAL's sales volume by 20.3 percent to 252,593 tons, from 210,039 tons in the first half last year.

As a result, the company's sales revenue increased by 58 percent to Rp 1.9 trillion, from Rp 1.2 trillion. AAL's export alone increased by more than 400 percent to 76,205 tons, from 13,102 tons in 2002.

More than 92 percent of AAL's sales revenue is derived from palm-based products.

During the first semester, AAL also benefited from the soaring price for CPO in the international market due to higher demand. The price rose by 18.2 percent to an average of Rp 3,397 per kilogram, from Rp 2,874 per kilogram in the same period last year.

AAL currently has 12 CPO mills with a total capacity of around 450 tons of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) per hour.

The company, which controls 205,000 hectares of plantations in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, has targeted to produce 600,000 tons of CPO this year.