India's Adani Wilmar posts 60% drop in Q4 profit on weak edible oils demand

BENGALURU/CHENNAI (Reuters) - India's Adani Wilmar Ltd reported a 60% slump in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, as lower product prices and sluggish demand from some customers dragged down overall sales in its mainstay edible oils business.

The Fortune cooking oil maker's consolidated net profit fell to 936.1 million rupees ($11.44 million) for the quarter ended March 31, from 2.34 billion rupees, a year earlier.

"Our margins ... got impacted by high-cost inventory in a falling edible oil price environment, inflation impact on our operational costs and an increase in interest costs due to rate hike," said Adani Wilmar Chief Executive Officer Angshu Mallick.

Adani Wilmar, a joint venture between Adani Group and Singapore's Wilmar Group, said its total expenses fell 5.9% to 138.16 billion rupees.

Edible oil prices have cooled off in recent months on the back of easing commodity prices, but demand is yet to fully recover as some customers including in the bakery and frying industry are cutting back.

Sales value in its edible oil business declined 13% during the quarter even as volumes were flat.

That led to a 7% decline in overall sales value, Adani Wilmar, which competes with Sundrop cooking oil maker Agro Tech Foods and Saffola-parent Marico, said in a press release.

Overall revenue from operations fell 7% to 138.73 billion rupees.

Separately, Adani Wilmar said the board re-appointed Mallick as the managing director and CEO for a period of three years, effective April 1.

Adani Wilmar shares have lost about a third of their value since Jan. 24 after U.S. short seller Hindenburg Research put out a critical report about the Adani Group's finances.

The stock declined more than 2% on Wednesday.

($1 = 81.8450 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Dimpal Gulwani in Bengaluru and Praveen Paramasivam in Chennai; Editing by Nivedita Bhattacharjee)