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First quarter profit of $37 million

By Anton Huafolo

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 21, 2008) – The New Britain Palm Oil (NBPOL) produced a record 80,764 tonnes of crude palm and kernel oil during the first quarter of this year, generating some US$82.7 million (K227.51 million) in sales and a profit-before-tax of US$36.7 million (K100.96 million).

Figures from its first quarter report submitted to the Port Moresby and London Stock exchanges last Friday showed that from the 77,663 tonnes of crude palm and kernel oil during the same period last year, output rose 4% or 3,101 tonnes during this year’s first quarter.

[PIR Editor's note: New Britain Palm Oil Limited oil palm operations are based on the northern coast of West New Britain Province and are situated on the Western portion of the island of New Britain. The island lies to the east of Papua New Guinea mainland and is approximately 590 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide.]

NBPOL recorded total sales revenue of US$82.7 million in the first quarter of this year with a profit-before-tax of US$36.7 million, up US$32.2 million from the corresponding period last year.

During the same period last year, the company posted total sales revenue of only US$50.5 million (K138.93 million) and a PBT of only US$ 17.8 million (K48.97 million).

"The first quarter of 2008 has been very rewarding as the group has produced a record 80,764 tonnes of crude palm and kernel oil," Chief Executive Officer Nick Thompson said in the report.

"The first quarter of production was some 4% ahead of the same period last year and would have been greater had we not had some crop that was scheduled for harvest in March been carried over into April; a result of the unusually early Easter holidays this year.

"At the end of the quarter, our stocks of both crude and refined oils in storage awaiting shipment were in excess of 15,290 tonnes, although for accounting purposes this is valued at cost," he said.

"Crop prospects for the next quarter look very encouraging both in New Britain and in the Solomon Islands and current growing conditions are ideal, with good moisture levels and sunshine hours.

"At this stage of the season, assuming no unforeseen events, we expect production of fruit to be in line with management’s 2008 FFB targets," Mr Thompson said.

He said that oil extraction rates at the mills had recovered exceptionally well from the early wet weather and indeed were ahead of this period last year, reflecting better crop management and processing.

Mr Thompson said the group’s crude palm oil extraction rate for the first quarter of this year was 22.65% as against 22.23% for the same period last year.

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