,KUALA LUMPUR: Tissue paper and personal care products maker NTPM Holdings Bhd said its operating profit tripled in the third quarter as higher selling prices and lower cost of raw materials boosted its margins. The group, however, warned that recent spike in prices of pulp and wastepaper will squeeze its future profits. For the three months ended Jan 31, NTPM operating profit swelled to RM36.8mil from RM11.1mil a year ago, despite slightly lower sales of RM193mil. Net profit was RM29.7mil compared with RM3mil previously. The company has declared a third interim dividend payout of 0.8 sen a share. The jump in profitability was mainly driven by cheaper raw material cost, but with prices on the rise, NTPM said it is unlikely the company would be able to maintain its margins. Since the start of 2021, NTPM said, commodities prices have increased generally, partly due to the perceived increase in demand from the expected improvement in the global economy with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines despite the supply chain constraint having been disrupted by the pandemic. "The prices of the Group’s main raw materials of virgin pulp and waste paper have similarly seen a rapid rise. The Group will continue to manage its raw material sourcing diligently, but it will not be able to avoid being affected by the rising pulp and wastepaper prices," it said. "Unless it can successfully pass on such cost increases to its customers, the Group may not be able to maintain its current profit margin," it added.
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