Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesian palm oil company, PT Astra Agro Lestari, has recorded positive operational and financial performance amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has posed economic challenges worldwide.

In a statement received in Jakarta on Friday, the company informed that operations at its palm oil plantations and mills are running normally, with the application of strict health protocols in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, while its office employees have been working from home since March this year.

“We pioneered the digitalization program three years ago, so it has not been difficult to run a plantation operation in the midst of a pandemic like today. The positive performance in the first quarter of 2020 serves as evidence of operational excellence and cost efficiency that have been carried out,” PT Astra Agro Lestari’s president director, Santosa, said while opening the virtual Annual General Meeting of shareholders in Jakarta on Wednesday (June 10, 2020).

The company has developed digital innovations to manage operations online by digitizing the process of maintenance, harvesting, digital-based attendance, and data analysis.

It has also implemented a boarding system in each palm oil mill to avoid the accumulation of outside fruit queues. In terms of sales, the company has been conducting the tender system through a digital application.

Such digitalization measures, that have become the company’s operational standards, have allowed it to maintain productivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has been able to maintain health and safety protocols, both at the head office and in the plantation operations, Santosa noted.

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The company has reported a net profit of Rp371,06 billion for the first quarter of 2020, driven by an increase in the average selling price of palm oil by 45 percent to Rp9,037 per kilogram. Astra Agro has claimed that the net profit reflects a 892-percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2019.

"With the increase, earnings per share have also increased by 891.72 percent from Rp19.44 in the first quarter of 2019 to Rp192.79 in the first quarter of 2020," Santosa said.

Meanwhile, Astra Agro’s net income has also increased by 13.3 percent to Rp4.80 trillion, compared to Rp4.23 trillion in the same period last year.

To increase productivity and efficiency for the rest of 2020, the company will continue automation programs by further implementing technological innovations.

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Reporter: Aria Cindyara
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
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