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Olam Group’s Singapore-Saudi dual IPO plan for agri unit delayed again

Olam Group said on Wednesday the initial share sale in its agricultural unit would not happen by the first half of 2024 while reporting a 41 per cent drop in annual underlying profit due to high interest rates and lower contribution from Olam Agri.

Olam, one of the world’s biggest agricultural commodity traders, said last August that its agricultural unit Olam Agri continues to target dual-listing in Singapore and Saudi Arabia by the first half of 2024.

Its other unit, Olam Food Ingredients, was initially slated to be listed on the London and Singapore bourses in the second quarter of 2022. Last year, the commodities trader confirmed that the proposed listing is expected to take place after Olam Agri’s IPO.

The company, however, on Wednesday backtracked on the IPO timeline for the dual listing of Olam Agri in Singapore and Saudi Arabia and said it would “retain flexibility on the listing sequence, as well as exploring other strategic options to unlock value.”

The company said the delay was due to the regulatory framework still being finalised in Saudi Arabia to enable the listing of foreign companies and the issuance of Saudi Depositary Receipts on the Saudi Exchange.

Olam posted an operational profit after tax and minority interests of $340.95m (SDG$458.1m) for the year ended December 31, compared with a profit of SDG781.5M a year earlier.

It declared a final dividend of 4 Singapore cents per share, compared with 4.5 Singapore cents a year earlier.

Olam also launched a share buyback programme for up to a maximum of 5 per cent of total outstanding shares within the current mandate.

Separately, Olam Agri has decided to close the fund management business of its unit, Olam Fund Management, as part of a strategic portfolio re-alignment, Olam Group said. This would affect a total of 14 employees in Singapore and China.