Source - Alliance News

MP Evans Group PLC on Tuesday reported a drop in its annual earnings, pointing to reduced crude oil prices, but said it had extended its buybacks after increasing its annual crop production.

The Kent, England-based palm oil producer with operations in Indonesia said pretax profit fell 64% in 2023 to $72.8 million from $200.3 million the year before.

This was partly due to revenue falling by 6.0% to $307.4 million from $326.9 million in 2022, which the firm said was affected by lower crude palm oil prices.

However, the firm reported that total crop processed in the year rose by 6.7% to 1.6 million tonnes, from 1.5 million the previous year, and added that sustainable crude palm oil production was 6.9% higher at 233,400 tonnes, compared to 218,300 tonnes a year ago.

MP Evans proposed a final dividend of 32.5 pence per share, up 8.3% from 30p the year before. This brings its full-year dividend to 45p per share, a 5.9% increase from 42.5p per share in 2022.

Commenting on the results, Chair Peter Hadsley-Chaplin said: ‘The group has made further significant progress in delivering its strategy in 2023. We increased the amount of crop that was processed and, importantly, almost all that crop is processed in a group mill now that our sixth mill is up and running. We have secured a substantial increase in planted hectarage during the year, which will support our continuing growth, and we remain focused on opportunities for further sustainable development, both at our existing estates and as we continue to review additional acquisition prospects.’

On Tuesday, MP Evans also announced its decision to extend its share buy back programme to a further budget of £2 million. This will run until June 14.

This comes after MP Evans said it resumed its share buyback programme in January after its expiry in December. The programme originally had a budget of £1.5 million for an initial two-month term.

In order to implement the programme, the firm had entered an agreement with Cavendish Capital Markets Ltd for it to independently carry out the on-market purchases.

Shares in MP Evans were down 0.2% at 748.80 pence each in London on Tuesday morning.

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