IJM Plantations aims to harvest record high one million tonnes of FFB

IJM Plantations Bhd chief executive officer Joseph Tek Choon Yee (left) and chief financial officer Purushothaman Kumaran are hopeful of the group harvesting a million tonnes of fresh fruit bunches this year. NSTP photo by OWEE AH CHUN

KUALA LUMPUR: IJM Plantations Bhd expects to harvest one million tonnes of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) in the current financial year ending March 31, 2020 (FY20), as more of its oil palms mature and bear more fruits.

"We aim for a million tonnes of FFB in the current financial year. Last year, we harvested about 976,000 tonnes," said IJM Plantations managing director and chief executive officer Joseph Tek.

He was speaking with reporters after the company's shareholders meeting here today. Also present was chief financial officer Purushothaman Kumaran.

For the financial year ended March 2019, IJM Plantations slipped into the red with a net loss of RM36.34 million, versus a net profit of RM27.86 million a year ago.

Group revenue declined 15.6 per cent to RM630.90 million from RM747.22 million previously.

The dismal results was largely dragged by depressed palm oil prices averaging at RM1,998 per tonne.

This year, Purushothaman said he was hopeful that IJM Plantations would be able to get back in the black should palm oil prices continue to rise further.

For the past couple of months, palm oil futures which touched a low of RM1,990 per tonne had traded upward to breach the RM2,300 per tonne briefly.

Today, the third month palm oil futures on the Malaysia Derivative Exchange dipped RM30 to close at RM2,239 per tonne.

When asked to comment, Purushothaman expressed hope that prices would continue to trade higher as China's demand for palm oil had started to pick up and both governments of Malaysia and Indonesia were committed to executing higher biodiesel mandates that would mop up excess stocks.

On whether there was any offer for a stake in IJM Plantations, Tek said it should be directed to parent IJM Corp Bhd.

A year ago, IJM Corp acknowledged that it was open to selling its 55 per cent stake.

"IJM Plantations is not offering itself for sale. Our parent, IJM Corp, is open to selling its controlling stake in IJM Plantations," he said.