Singapore based agricultural trader Olam is looking to further digitise its business platforms and deepen ties with suppliers and customers with the help from reduced gearing and stronger balance sheet.

Rather than moving into new sectors, the trading house is “looking deeper into the value chain” said A Shekhar, executive director of Olam. “We are spending a lot of time focusing on the transformation and digitisation” of the supply chain, he said.

His comments come as its after-tax profits for 2017 rose 65 per cent to S$581m partly due to gains from divestments of its sugar refining business in Indonesia and nuts farmland assets in the US.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation rose by 10 per cent as improved contribution from sectors including nuts, spices and vegetable ingredients were offset by weaker results from its confectionery and beverage ingredients.

Mr Shekhar said its Japanese marketing joint venture with Mitsubishi, the Japanese trading house which took a stake in the Singapore group in 2015, had given it access to a wider range of Japanese customers.

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