February 28, 2011 / 7:53 AM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-New Britain Palm Oil says sales rise, to resume div

* Pretax profit up 54 percent to $131.2 mln

* Revenue rises 45 percent to $470.5 mln

* Higher palm oil shipments, prices drive results

* Co expects to resume dividend payouts in October

(Adds Detail)

LONDON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - New Britain Palm Oil (NBPO) NBPO.L reported higher sales and profit for the full year, helped by a surge in palm oil prices, and said it would resume dividend payments later this year.

Commodity prices have surged in recent months on supply worries and robust demand, with Malaysian benchmark palm oil prices hitting a near three-year high this month.

NBPO, which is majority owned by Malaysian planter Kulim KULM.KL, said pretax profit rose 54 percent to $131.2 million, on sales 45 percent higher at $470.5 million.

Oil shipments were up 26 percent to 455,122 tonnes, at an average price 20 percent higher at $850/tonne. The company said, as at Feb. 15, forward sales were about 178,000 tonnes at an average price of $1,063/tonne.

The Australasian palm oil producer, headquartered in Papua New Guinea also expects to resume dividend payments, with an interim dividend for 2011 to be payable in October.

Shares in the company, which have nearly doubled in value over the past year, closed at 838 pence on Friday on the London Stock Exchange, valuing the business at 1.21 billion pounds.

Reporting by Adveith Nair; Editing by Matt Scuffham

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