Dividend boost for palm oil investors following £50m sale

    M.P. Evans

    Shares in Tunbridge Wells-based firm M.P Evans received a boost last week after the company announced its intention to sell its 34 per cent stake in an Australian beef-cattle company for £54million.

    The company said it has decided to focus on its core business of Indonesian palm oil. M.P. Evans will be divesting its stake in North Australian Pastoral Co (NAPCo) to the Queensland Investment Corp at a price of approximately £9.40 per share

    The firm said it will use the sale proceeds for its capital investment programme in respect of its unplanted areas of land in Indonesia, as well as prospective investment in new sustainable land.

    Following tax and the cost of professional advice, the firm expects to receive net proceeds of £44million. Subject to completion of the sale, M.P. Evans will also consider paying a special dividend of 5 pence per share.

    Chairman Peter Hadsley-Chaplin said: “The group’s focus has increasingly been on Indonesian palm oil, which has consistently delivered profitable growth, and proceeds from the sale will enable the group to achieve greater economies of scale.

    “The board continues to believe that the long-term prospects for Indonesian palm oil remain favourable.”

    Shares in the company closed up nearly four per cent to close at 439.75 pence.