KUCHING:  BLD Plantation Bhd’s bottomline has been hit by the lower average selling prices of palm oil products. In the first quarter ended June 30, 2019 (Q1-2019), BLD suffered group net loss of RM17.58 million on revenue of RM338.8 million. Loss per share was 18.8 sen.

There were no comparison figures as the company had changed its financial year to March 31, from Dec 31.

BLD said the loss was recorded despite higher sales volume of the products. “The prospect of the palm oil industry remains uncertain and challenging with deepened negative sentiments against palm oil that has weighted on CPO (crude palm oil) prices.

“The group is of the view that the market outlook in the near term is likely to remain moderate within expectation,” it added .  BLD, which owns and operates a refinery in Bintulu and palm oil mills, said the group would focus on efficiency enhancement, productivity maximisation along with cost reduction in streamlining its production process.

“Looking forward, the group will strive to perform better and stay resilient amid fast evolving business environment that poses progressively greater challenges in the year ahead,’ it said.

Meanwhile, industrial gas manufacturer and supplier BIG Industries Bhd has returned to the black with group net profit of RM955,000 for financial year to June 30, 2019 (FY2019) from loss of RM4.52 million in FY2018.

Group revenue rose to RM45.99 million from RM39.91 million year-on-year. Earnings per share stood at 1.99 sen from loss of 9.39 sen previously.
In Q4-2019, BIG posted group net loss of RM1.69 million, which was higher than RM672,000 loss in Q4-2018 as group revenue fell marginally to RM9.95 million from RM10.3 million.

BIG attributed the lower revenue to weak demand of its concrete products due to fewer project launches and intensive competition in the industry.
However, its gas division did better with a marginal increase in its turnover due to higher sales of liquefied gas for the maintenance activities of the oil & gas industry.

For FY2019, the company said the RM6.08 million increase or up by 15.24 percent in group revenue over FY2018 was contributed mainly by the gas division which saw its revenue surged by RM8.4 million to RM31.1 million from RM22.7 million.

The gas division recorded a pre-tax profit of about RM2.1 million from pre-tax loss of RM3.65 million year-on-year. The profit was attributed to gain on disposal of a vacant land and lower impairment loss.

On the yearly performance of the concrete division, BIG said its revenue fell sharply to RM12.65 million in FY2019 from RM17.17 million in FY2018 due to lower market demand for its concrete products.

However, the division managed to narrow its pre-tax loss to RM1.23 million from RM1.79 million due to various cost rationalisation measures taken.
BIG is also into property development which registered revenue of RM2.2 million from sales of single-storey houses in Kuching in FY2019. The division had no income in FY2018.

On the current year’s prospects, BIG comments: “The group expects the coming year will be challenging due to the prolonged and escalating trade war between United States of America and China, and weak market conditions.

“An optimistic outlook for the gas division as most oil and gas production activities continue to improve moderately.”
However, the same could be said for the concrete division as it would remains weak for FY2020 due to subdued construction activities, acute sand shortage and overcapacity of the ready-mixed concrete industry.

On property development, BIG said it would continue to push for the sales of the remaining  single-storey houses in Kuching and launching of new Melalin project in Sabah.
The company said it would continue its prudent policy on costs, enhance its operational efficiency and explore more markets for its products during the challenging times.

Meanwhile, BIG has significantly reduced its short term borrowings to about RM3.33 million as at June 30, 2019 from RM7.78 million a year ago.
The group’s long-term borrowings was RM788,000 and RM782,000 respectively during the same