(Corrects headline to say Q1, not Q2)
Shares of commodity trader Olam International Ltd jumped as much as 4.8 percent, recovering from Wednesday’s losses, after it reported a 26 percent rise in its quarterly profit.
By 0133 GMT, Olam shares were up 4 percent at S$1.83, after falling 4.4 percent on Wednesday. Olam has lost 14 percent since the start of the year, compared to the Straits Times Index’s 11.6 percent rise.
Olam shares had fallen 7.9 percent since its competitor Noble reported disappointing third-quarter earnings earlier this month, fuelling concerns about a tough business environment for commodity traders.
“Olam’s results were pretty good, lifting concerns about the company after Noble posted poor results,” said a local trader.
Olam said its first-quarter net profit rose 26 percent to S$43.2 million from a year earlier, which Citigroup said was boosted by strong volume growth in its food staples or packaged food segment. The brokerage tipped 2013 to be a year of recovery for the company.
However, CIMB Research downgraded Olam to ‘neutral’ from ‘outperform’ and cut its target price to S$2.08 from S$2.61, citing potentially weak margins, negative cash flows and higher gearing.
CIMB cut its 2013-2015 earnings per share estimates for Olam to reflect margin pressure from new acquisitions.
The brokerage was surprised at Olam’s aggressive S$1.7 billion capital expenditure budget for 2013 and the first half of 2014, which it said would result in negative free cash flow over the next two years.
0933 (0133 GMT) (Reporting by Charmian Kok in Singapore; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu; email@example.com)