Olam Group expects agricultural unit’s Singapore-Saudi dual IPO by 2024 first half

(Reuters) -Singapore’s Olam Group said on Friday it is targeting the IPO of its agricultural unit by the first half of 2024, and the commodity trader reported an 88.8% fall in first-half profit on lower crop yield from its almond orchards in Australia.

The company said in May it did not expect the dual listing of Olam Agri in Singapore and Saudi Arabia to be completed in the first half of this year as initially planned.

The company previously said it plans to list its Olam Food Ingredients unit as part of a business overhaul. The listing will take place after Olam Agri’s IPO, the company reiterated on Friday.

Olam Agri, that trades grains and animal feed, edible oils, rice and cotton, posted first-half earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) that fell 9%.

Olam Group, one of the world’s biggest agricultural commodity traders, reported a profit attributable of S$48 million ($35.6 million) for the six months ended June 30, compared with S$429.1 million a year earlier.

Last month, the company flagged lower bee activity during pollination, adverse weather impacts, including unseasonal cold amid excessive rain and flooding, led to an unexpected drop in yield and quality of the 2023 almond crop in Australia.

“We have been budgeting for higher interest costs and optimising cost structures overall. We are however not immune to near-term impact from rapid benchmark interest rate hikes affecting companies globally,” CFO N Muthukumar said.

EBIT for the company’s food ingredients segment, that trades cocoa, coffee, nuts, dairy and spices, rose 3.4%.

Olam Group declared an interim dividend of 3 Singapore cents, compared with 4 Singapore cents a year earlier. ($1 = 1.3490 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by Echha Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Shounak Dasgupta)