Shares in Tunbridge Wells’ plantation owners M.P. Evans rose last week despite profits falling by ‘only’ ten per cent over the course of 2015.
Profit after tax at the AIM-listed firm came in at £18 million, compared to £20million for 2014, a result described as ‘pleasing’ by executive chairman, Peter Hadsley-Chaplin.
The fall in profits was driven by a 25 per cent drop in the price of palm oil over the same period from an average of $821 (£573) per tonne in 2014 to $622 per tonne in 2015.
However, this was partially offset by a ten per cent increase in palm oil production and rising demand for the firm’s second biggest the firm’s share of profit at its properties division fell ‘a little’ although development and sales continued at a ‘healthy level’, the chairman added.
Mr Hadsley-Chaplin painted an optimistic picture for 2016 stating: “It is pleasing that, in a year of significantly lower palm-oil prices, the profit for the year fell only by 10 per cent.
“The palm-oil market has staged a welcome recovery from the low levels of 2015 and Australian beef-cattle prices, whilst softening a little, remain at historically strong levels.”
In its final results the company said its strategy moving forward was to continue to expand its palm-oil areas in Indonesia, ‘in a sustainable and cost-effective manner’.
Total dividends for the year were maintained at 8.75 pence per share. However, brokers Peel Hunt and Finncap both retained their ‘buy’ rating for investors looking to buy into the company.