Singapore's Olam Q4 net profit down 48 pct on higher tax charges

SINGAPORE Thu Aug 29, 2013 5:16am EDT

SINGAPORE Aug 29 (Reuters) - Singapore commodities firm Olam International Ltd reported a 48 percent fall in fourth-quarter net profit, citing higher tax charges and challenging market conditions.

Olam posted net profit of S$56.8 million ($44.4 million) for the three months ended in June, down from S$109.5 million a year earlier. The result lagged the average net profit forecast of S$75.4 million from three analysts polled by Reuters.

The company's earnings in the fourth quarter were hit by increased tax charges of S$50.6 million, compared to a net tax credit of S$8.2 million a year earlier.

"While the long term trends in the agri-sector remain attractive, the nearer term macroeconomic uncertainty and increased volatility could impact the sector," Olam said in a statement.

The company had dropped its target to achieve a $1 billion net profit by 2016 and has shifted to a slower growth path after an attack by short-seller Muddy Waters last year sent its stock and bond prices tumbling.

Olam has a 12-month forward price-earnings ratio of 9.0, compared to an average of 17.2 for 115 companies in the food and staples retailing sector in developed Asia Pacific. ($1 = 1.2783 Singapore dollars) (Reporting by Eveline Danubrata; Additional reporting by Tripti Kalro; Editing by Rachel Armstrong)