Higher than average prices and increased production boosted last year's net profits by over 60 per cent for palm oil and cattle specialist,
Indonesian crops of oil palm ffbs rose 27 per cent to 249,300 tonnes last year, as new projects came onstream and the total planted area was increased 5 per cent to 29,800 hectares. This is expected to enable the group to achieve its target of 300,000 ffb production this year, rising sharply to 500,000 by 2015. And, while palm oil prices were on a decline for most of last year, average prices were still up 24 per cent from a year earlier at $1,123 (£709) per tonne. Moreover, prices have picked up sharply since the end of 2011 – it is now around $1,175 a tonne.
MP Evans maintained its 34.4 per cent stake in the Australian cattle group, NAPCo, and profits rose on the back of good rainfall and subsequent weight gain, while cattle prices remained steady.
Broker Peel Hunt expects adjusted profits to be relatively flat this year.
|MP EVANS (MPE)|
|ORD PRICE:||476p||MARKET VALUE:||£257m|
|TOUCH:||470-477p||12-MONTH HIGH:||481p||LOW: 370p|
|DIVIDEND YIELD:||1.7%||PE RATIO:||11|
|NET ASSET VALUE:||626¢||NET DEBT:||1%|
|Year to 31 Dec||Turnover ($m)||Pre-tax profit ($m)||Earnings per share (c)||Dividend per share (p)|
Ex-div: 25 Apr
Payment: 21 Jun
Doubling ffb output by 2015 is impressive enough, and there is a high level of visibility because the palms to achieve this are already planted. So, with considerable medium-term upside in the pipeline from further land utilisation, the shares rate a buy.
Last IC view: Good value, 410p 16 September 2011.