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UPDATE 1-Malaysia's FGV posts Q1 loss, warns pandemic challenges ongoing

(Updates with quotes and details from press statement)

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 (Reuters) - Malaysian plantation giant FGV Holdings posted a first quarter net loss on Friday due to disruptions to its palm oil production and charges related to a land lease agreement, while warning of ongoing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The world’s largest crude palm oil producer logged a loss of 35.4 million ringgit ($8.56 million) during the January-March period, compared with a 142.3 million ringgit loss a year earlier.

Revenue rose 21.9% to 3.39 billion ringgit.

The better performance was due to improvements in all business sectors and was boosted by higher crude palm oil prices, the firm said in a bourse filing.

However, earnings were affected by land lease agreement fair value charges of 144 million ringgit.

The plantation’s performance was impacted by a shortage of migrant workers to harvest the palm fruits and torrential rains, Azman Ahmad, FGV Group’s Officer-In-Charge said in a separate statement.

“The group expects crude palm oil prices to remain high but the plantation sector’s operating environment will remain challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the tight labour situation,” he added.

State agency Felda, or the Federal Land Development Authority, in April said it will make an offer to buyout and privatise FGV after failing in its initial bid to takeover FGV.

$1 = 4.1345 ringgit Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Editing by Jacqueline Wong; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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