SINGAPORE, Feb 22 (Reuters) - Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd announced better-than-expected fourth-quarter net profit and a joint venture with fellow commodities firm Noble Group Ltd for Papua-focused palm projects.
Wilmar reported net profit of $476.8 million for the three months ended in December, down 4.7 percent from $500 million a year earlier. But that still was above an average net profit forecast of $348 million, based on a Reuters poll of five analysts.
Most key segments delivered higher profit from operations for the quarter, said Wilmar, which gets about 50 percent of its revenue from China.
Palm and laurics benefited from higher sales volume and the revised Indonesian export duty structure. Consumer products gained from lower feedstock costs and oilseeds and grains saw improved crush margins.
Sugar contributed positively from the crushing of better quality cane and higher merchandising profit. But plantations and palm oil mills were affected by lower crude palm oil prices.
Wilmar was the worst performing stock on the Straits Times Index last year, down 33 percent versus a 20 percent gain in the index.
(Reporting by Eveline Danubrata) Keywords: WILMAR RESULT/
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