Olam CEO insisted agri-food group making "progress"

Olam CEO insisted agri-food group making "progress"

Singapore-based food group Olam International today (14 February) booked a fall in half-year profits - but CEO Sunny Verghese said the Singapore-based food group was making progress.

Net profit fell 8.5% to S$180.5m (US$143.2m) in the six months to the end of December. Sales revenue dropped 7.9% to S$8.83bn.

However, Olam said EBITDA - which it described as its "key metric for operating performance" - was up 5.4% at S$564.8m on the back of improved margins and efficiency.

Verghese said: "We are pleased with the progress made in the first half of FY2014, both in terms of operating performance as well as execution against our four strategic priorities and six key pathways identified in our strategic plan. This is reflected in the EBITDA growth and improved cash flow generation for the period."

In April, Olam published the outcome of its strategic review, which included goals like accelerating free cash flow generation and reducing gearing.

Olam, which also supplies industrial raw materials like cotton, reported higher EBITDA from its food business, which includes packaged foods, confectionery and ingredients. Sales were down due to lower revenues from two units - food staples and packaged foods; and confectionery and beverage ingredients.