Singapore agribusiness giant Wilmar International has booked a drop in first-half profits as the group suffered losses in its oilseeds and grains business.

In the six months to the end of June, Wilmar recorded a net profit of US$373m, a 52.2% decline on the prior year period.

The company blamed the decline on a $40m pre-tax loss in its oilseeds and grains business, a 45% decline in pre-tax profits to $79.2m in its plantations and palm oil mills and higher losses in its sugar division. The unit recorded pre-tax losses of $60.3m from $7.1m last year.

Sales, however, were up 4% to $11.02bn, which Wilmar attributed to revenue growth from its Palm & Laurics, consumer products and sugar units, which in turn was driven primarily by volume growth in these segments.

Despite the losses, chairman and CEO Kuok Khoon Hong said the group’s business model is “sound” and that long-term prospects remain “intact”.

However, he warned: “In the near term, the operating environment remains challenging, particularly in China, due to excess capacity in oilseeds crushing.”