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Module Code / Occ / Year MOD001112
Module Title Business Analysis Project
Module Element 010- Individual Assignment, 3000 Words
Dr Ismail Nizam Submission date (by
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1.0 Introduction 3
1.1 Purpose of Study 3
1.2 Case Context of Analysis 3
1.3 Company Background 4
1.3.1 IJM Plantation 4-5
1.3.2 Samling Group 5-6
1.3.3 Felda Global Ventures 6
1.4 Key Issues 7
1.5 Rationale for the Selection of Companies 8

2.0 Financial Analysis 8

2.1 Revenue Analysis 8-9
2.2 Market Share Growth 10
2.3 Profit Margins 11
2.4 Price Earnings Ratio 12
2.5 Debt Level 12 13

3.0 Strategic Analysis 13

3.1 Market and Competitors Analysis 13 - 15
3.2 SWOT Analysis of IJM Plantation. Samling and FGV 15 - 17

4.0 Limitations of Financial Models and Conventional Analyis 17

4.1 Limitations of Financial Models in Analysis Performance 17
4.2 Limitations of Conventional Models 17

5.0 Recommendations 18

6.0 Conclusion 18 - 19

7.0 References 19 - 20

1.1 Purpose of Study
This study will analyse the competitive position of IJM Plantations Berhad, a Malaysian
conglomerate with interests in oil palm agribusiness. In this study, IJM Plantations will

be benchmarked with two other organisations engaged in the similar business namely
Samling Group and Felda. These organisations are operating in an environment and an
industry which is in a sunset industry in which the industry is undermined by low prices
and growing structural challenges (BMI Research). According to a report by (18 December 2015), earnings growth for plantation companies may
show a tepid trend in 2016 due to weak crude palm oil (CPO) prices. This is on the back
of the recent El Nino weather effects which has led to a respite in CPO prices, however
the rising momentum of the CPO prices is likely to subside in the near future. The report
indicates that the economic outlook for the plantation sector is anticipated to remain
bleak on record-high stockpiles, ebbing external demand as well as higher input costs
(, 18 December 2015). As Malaysia moves towards a knowledge
economy, IJM Plantation has to invest greater efforts into staying relevant in the
Malaysian economy.

1.2 Case context of analysis

The case context of analysis will explore the background of the organisation which
include its vision, mission and objectives; a comprehensive study of the macro and micro
environment of the organisation; and, a capability analysis of IJM Plantation, which is the
chosen organisation. The study will also take into consideration and explore the chosen
organisations Key performance indicators (KPIs), its proposed new strategies to address
issues that have been identified; and a critical evaluation of the proposed strategies.

1.3 Company background

1.3.1 IJM Plantation
The chosen company for this analysis is IJM Plantations Berhad (IJMP). IJMP has
come a long way from its humble beginnings in1985 when it first established a
joint venture with Koperasi Pembangunan Desa, aimed at developing Desa
Talisai. Commencing with a mere 4,000 hectares of Desa Talisai estates, the

company now operates seven folds of that amount to its current land-bank of
close to 30,000 hectares in the regions of Sandakan and Sugut in Sabah, Malaysia.
The Group has also spread its wings into Indonesia for oil palm cultivation.
Today, the Group owns and operates 11 oil palm estates, which are supported by
four oil mills with a capacity to process over one million tonnes per year and a
palm kernel crushing plant. The companys mills and kernel crushing plant
consistently produce outstanding returns which are above the industrys average.
The Group has made significant investments in the fields of research,
development and training in an effort to sustain the Groups competitive
advantage. The Group has a Quality, Training and Research centre in Sijas Estate
in Malaysia which is testament to the Groups commitment towards R&D in an
effort to upkeep its competitive edge moving forward. The Group is the proud
producer of its own quality oil palm hybrid seeds which has been given the
accreditation by SIRIM with the MS157: 2005 certification. IJMP today is listed
on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad since July 2003. IJMP is
one of the five key divisions of the diversified conglomerate, IJM Group. The
companys core products include palm oil products such as CPO, crude palm
kernel oil (CPKO), palm kernel expeller (PKE); agri-services such as plantations
agro-technical and advisory services; and, planting materials such as IJM DxP
Hybrid seeds planting materials (IJM Plantations Berhad).

The Groups Vision is to be a leading regional plantation group and its mission
is to uphold the highest standards of performance in our plantations and agri-
businesses. The Groups corporate culture is driven by 5 basic tenets, which read
as follows (IJM Plantations Annual Report 2015):

1.3.2 Samling Group
Samling Group is a Malaysian company with diverse business interests which
include forest management to oil palm plantation, property development and
automotive business in various countries across the world (Samling Group). The
company was established in 1963, with its headquarters located in the East
Malaysian state of Sarawak (Samling Group). The Groups oil palm plantation is
managed by its subsidiary Glenealy Plantations Sdn Bhd which has oil palm
plantations in Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Glenealy has been in
operations for over 50 years (Samling Group). As at March 2015, Glenealy has
68,679 hectares of plantable area. The Group owns three palm oil mills located in
Belaga and Lana in Sarawak as well as Lahad Datu in Sabah (Samling Group).
The mills are equipped with state-of-the-art milling technology and is
professionally managed by a pool of experts. The company is guided by its parent
companys vision and mission which is Samling Group (Samling Group). The
vision and mission of the group is as follows (Samling Group):

Our vision is to be a leading global corporation in our core businesses.

Our mission is to build on our experience, strengths and value to:

1.3.3 Felda Global Ventures
Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) is one of Malaysias leading
global agribusiness and is the worlds largest producer of crude palm oil (CPO)
(Felda Global Ventures). The company has operations in more than 10 countries
across Asia, North America and Europe. FGV is listed on Malaysias Stock
Exchange and has six core business interest which include palm upstream and
downstream, rubber, sugar, research and development (R&D) and Agri-services,
Trading and Marketing, Logistics & Others (Felda Global Ventures). As at 31
December 2015, the company reported a market capitalization of RM16.6 billion
(Felda Global Ventures). FGV is the worlds largest crude palm oil (CPO)
producer and the second largest palm oil refiner in Malaysia (Felda Global
Ventures). The company employs more than 19,000 employees and aspires to be
one of the top 10 agri-business conglomerate globally by 2020 (Felda Global
Ventures). The companys vision is to be the leading globally diversified
integrated agri-business. The companys mission is to be a global leader by
creating value through our human capital; championing our locally invested
culture; building an integrated value chain advantage; and cultivating
diversification in commodities and geography (Felda Global Ventures).

1.4 Key Issues

Companies Key Issues
IJM Plantation Poor weather conditions dry weather in Indonesia
hits fresh fruits production which came in at below

original projections (RHB Investment, 17 April 2014).
Concentration of plantation land in Sabah means any
extreme weather conditions there will lead to a
significant effect on productivity (RHB Investment,
17 April 2014).
Lower commodity prices and lack of demand from
regional and global customers due to various global
effects (RHB Investment, 17 April 2014).
Samling Samlings business interest is not focused and is
diversified across different sectors (FMT, 15 March
Pressure from international groups such as the Forest
Stewardship Council (FSC) for failing to support the
local timber industry (FMT, 15 March 2016).
Felda Global Ventures Declining CPO prices, stagnant production figures and
(FGV) lower annual earnings leading to a fall in FGVs
market value (The Star, 30 July 2016).
A series of landbank acquisitions and major related
party transactions have led to a substantial depletion in
FGVs IPO cash proceeds (The Star, 30 July 2016).
The majority of FGVs total planted landbanks
consists of low-yielding old trees or plants that are
more than 20 years old (The Star, 30 July 2016).

1.5 Rationale for the Selection of Companies

The reasons for the selection of IJM Plantation and the other two companies, namely
Samling and FGV, is due to the fact that these companies are prominent players in the
plantation sector in Malaysia. The companies have different levels of organisational
performance. Being in the same plantation industry, it is feasible to make comparisons of
IJM against Samling and FGV.

2.1 Revenue Analysis
Companies Operating Revenue Analysis (2013 2016)

2016 (Forecast) 2015 2014 2013

IJM 748,000 667,666 646,981 486,277
Samling 550,000 447,666 440,722 351,799
FGV 17,000 15,559 15,258 12,676
Revenue Analysis (Annual Reports of IJM, Samling and FGV)

2016(Forecast) 2015 2014 2013

IJM Samling FGV

IJM Plantation has shown a steady increase of 33% and 31.9% between 2013 and 2014 as
well as 2014 and 2015 respectively. On the back of declining commodity prices, the
company has forecasted a 12.03% increase in its revenue for 2016.

Samling Group saw significant revenue growth between 2013 and 2014 at 25.27% whilst
revenue growth from 2014 to 2015 was at 1.5% on the back of declining regional and
global economies as well as declining commodity prices. In 2016, revenue has been
forecasted at an optimistic rate of 22.85% as the company is confident that it will be able
to navigate in the challenging economy with good strategies.

FGV revealed a revenue growth of 20.37% from 2013 2014, whilst revenue growth
declined at 1.97% between 2014 and 2015. In 2016, Samling is aiming to achieve 9.26%
of revenue growth from 2015 on the back of challenging economic conditions.

2.2 Market Share Growth

Companies Market Share (2013 2016)

2016 (Forecast) 2015 2014 2013

IJM 14.2 13.7 13.2 11.7
Samling 12.3 11.7 11.1 10.6
FGV 9.3 8.8 8.2 7.8
Market Share Analysis (Annual Reports of IJM, Samling and FGV)

Market share
IJM Samling FGV

24% 23%

15% 15% 15%

14% 14%

2015 2014 2013

IJM market share grew steadily between 2013 and 2015 from 11.7%, 13.2% and 13.7%.
In 2016, the company is aiming to achieve market growth of 14.2%.

Samlings market share also increased steadily albeit at a slower pace than IJM at 10.6%
in 2013, to 11.1% in 2014, to 11.7% in 2015. In 2016, the company is aiming at
achieving market share growth to 12.3%.

FGVs market increased steadily at more nominal rates from 7.8% in 2013, to 8.2% in
2014 and 8.8% in 2015. In 2016, the company is aiming at achieving market share at
2.3 Profit Margins
Companies Profit Margin (2013 2016)

2016 (Forecast) 2015 2014 2013

IJM 186,000 156,613 109,083 89,407
Samling 97,000 91,227 86,556 72,716
FGV 6,800 6,324 5,910 5,620
Profit Margin Analysis (Annual Reports of IJM, Samling and FGV)

Profit Margin
2016(Forecast) 2015 2014 2013

IJM Samling FGV

Profit margins for IJM increased from 2013 to 2014 by 22% and from 2014 to 2015 to
43.57%. In 2016, IJM is expecting a profit margin increase of 18.76%.

Profit margins for Samling increased from 2013 to 2014 by 19.03% and from 2014 to
2015 to 5.4%. In 2016, Samling is expecting a profit margin increase of 6.32%.

Profit margins for FGV increased from 2013 to 2014 by 5.16%, and from 2014 to 2015 to
7%. In 2016, FGV is expecting a profit margin increase of 7.5%.

2.4 Price Earnings Ratios

Companies Price Earnings Ratio (2013 2015)

2015 2014 2013

IJM 1.34 1.25 1.00
Samling 1.23 1.12 1.00
FGV 1.30 1.01 0.93
Price Earnings Ratio (Annual Reports of IJM, Samling and FGV)









FY 2013 FY 2014 FY 2015

IJM Samling FGV

2.5 Debt Level

Companies Debt Ratio (2013 2015)

2015 2014 2013

IJM 13.2% 14.1% 15.0%
Samling 13.8% 14.7% 15.2%
FGV 25.6% 24.2% 23.3%
Debt Ratio Analysis (Annual Reports of IJM, Samling and FGV)

debt ratio
IJM Samling FGV

24% 23%

15% 15%
14% 15%
13% 14%

2015 2014 2013

The Debt ratio analysis for IJMs debt levels are considerably lower than its counterparts,
Samling and FGV, which reveals that the companys debts are much lower than its


3.1 Market and Competitors Analysis
Political The political environment of Malaysia where the 3
companies operate are stable (FT View, 31 March
2015). According to the Financial Times, Malaysia is
regarded as one of Southeast Asias success stories
(FT View, 31 March 2015). With a population that is
approximately 30 million, Malaysia is the regions
third-largest economy with high literacy rates and a
good level of education (FT View, 31 March 2015).
The country is a rare moderate Muslim country that
practices racial and religious harmony (FT View, 31
March 2015). This poses good prospects for business
expansion for all three companies as the government
practices business-friendly policies and regulatory
frameworks are well established (FT View, 31 March
Economic Malaysia has a thriving economy with real GDP
growth at a solid six percent, the second highest
performance in Southeast Asia (FT View, 31 March
2015). However, the country is a major net exporter
of energy, thus making it vulnerable to declining
prices of oil (FT View, 31 March 2015). Malaysia
foreign bond ownership is high at approximately 40
percent, and bond owners can become jittery with the
countrys economic and political outlook (FT View,

31 March 2015). From manufacturing to distribution
or technical expertise, Malaysia has ample
opportunities and capabilities across the value chain
(ETP). The country is located at the heart of ASEAN
with a regional market of over 600 million people
and a regional GDP of USD2 trillion (ETP).
Social Malaysia has a diverse population comprising three
major ethnic races which are Malays, Chinese and
Indians longside other minorities (FT View, 31 March
2015). The country poses ample supply of knowledge
workforce, however for plantations, the country
largely imports foreign workers from neighbouring
countries in the region (FT View, 31 March 2015).
The country has a thriving economy with low poverty
rates and relatively well-balanced disposable income
levels (FT View, 31 March 2015). Lately due to
various reasons, the country has been facing a
shortage of foreign workers in the construction and
plantation industry due to disputes on foreign worker
policies by exporting nations and cases of abuse
encountered in Malaysia (FT View, 31 March 2015).
Technology As an industrialised nation, Malaysias technological
advancement has been very good with the country
embracing technology in various fields (FT View, 31
March 2015). However in the plantation sector,
automation has always been at a minimum and it is
operated based on a very manual approach that is
labour intensive. This requires large numbers of
workers (FT View, 31 March 2015). Although
Malaysia is one of the most technologically
developed countries in ASEAN, the country still
relies on manual labour for the plantation industry,

which has been experiencing shortage of workers
over the last few years (FT View, 31 March 2015).

3.2 SWOT Analysis of IJM Plantation, Samling and FGV

SWOT IJM Plantation Samling FGV
Strengths Good reputation in the Strong track record Relatively new
plantation markets. in the plantation presence in the
Moderate market share market.
and presence in the Moderate market Government
market. presence. backing as it is the
Strong financial Moderate financial governments agri-
performance with performance and investment arm.
sustainable profits. profit margins. Strong leadership
Low debt ratios Moderate debt with good
ratios. knowledge in the
plantation sector in
Weaknesses Lack of strong Weak presence Only
presence in the in regional concentrated in
regional market. markets. Malaysia.
Lack of focus on core Poor financial
plantation business. performance.
interference in
operations and
strategic decision
Opportunities Large regional market Large regional Large regional
with excellent potential market with market with
for growth. excellent potential excellent potential
for growth. for growth.
Threats Pressure by Low commodity Low commodity
international prices driving prices driving

activities to cease oil profit margins profit margins
palm plantations thatdown. down.
are said to cause Lack of momentum Lack of momentum

environmental in the local in the local

damage due to plantation sector. plantation sector.

Heavy competition
clearing efforts.
Low commodity prices from large

driving profit plantation

margins down. companies such as

Rapid property Sime Darby.
development leading
to loss of plantation
grounds to


4.1 Limitation of Financial Models in Analysis Performance
Often financial models do not portray the real conditions of the company, as those
viewing the financial models may not be privy to management issues, internal control
issues, problems and lack of governance (Financial Times, 3 April 2011). Cash-flow
charts and income statements only reveal the companys expenditure and earnings on a
monthly basis (Financial Times, 3 April 2011). In the annual report, all these statements
are compiled for a single fiscal period, however these documents do show how much
assets or liabilities the company has presently (Financial Times, 3 April 2011). These
figures are also not reflective of market trends and demands (Financial Times, 3 April
2011). Although the company may reveal growth in revenue, the given performance may
not be on par with industry peers (Financial Times, 11 April 2011). In addition to that, the
financial standing of the company may not define its performance as financial statements
do not show how well the company is doing internally and whether productivity levels
are up to mark. It also does not reveal how well products or services are selling in the
market (Financial Times, 3 April 2011).

4.2 Limitations of Conventional Models
Conventional financial models rely on ratio analysis which include accounting, stock
market, and management related limitations ( Ratios are usually
hampered by potential limitations with accounting and the data in the financial statements
itself ( These include errors alongside accounting mismanagement which
may include doctored data used to derive financial ratios (

In improving its business operations the following recommendations are made for IJM
1. Forming collaborations with competitors in the market to expand market share.
Forming collaborations with competitors in the market such as Samling and FGV,
may be a strategic move in capturing market share. Leveraging on the market share of
both competitors is a good measure to consider in expanding market share. In
addition to that, IJM can also improve government relations through ties with FGV
which is a government-linked company.

2. Engaging with stakeholders such as environmental activities to reduce pressure

on environmental issues.
IJM has faced much pressure from international activities who claim that oil palm
plantations erode natural mineral resources. In order to reduce the pressure, it is
recommended that IJM engage these activists and implement initiatives that
demonstrate IJMs commitment to sustainable agriculture. This will help the company
to build its image as a responsible corporate citizen thus contributing to better
sentiments from stakeholders.

3. Increasing focus on core plantation business and eliminating business activities

that are not profitable.
In improving its business performance and strengthening the company, it would be
good for IJM to streamline its business activities and concentrate on its core

plantation business. This will enable the company to plug its expenses, provide better
returns to stakeholders and tighten its operations to enable more sustainable and
profitable returns in the future.

This report has provided an overview of IJM Plantations and its operations in comparison
to 2 other industry players/ competitors. The report provides a comprehensive outlook on
the industry and has analysed the environment in which these companies operate using
the PEST analysis. Internal operations has been analysed using the SWOT analysis.
Recommendations have been provided to help IJM tighten and strengthen its operations
to remain profitable and garner sustainable returns.


IJM Plantations Berhad Annual Report 2015. Retrieved on 4 July 2016 from:

BMI Research. Malaysia Agribusiness. Retrieved on 4 July 2016 from:, 18 December 2015. 2016 Malaysia Outlook: Challenging. Retrieved on 4

July 2016 from:

IJM Plantations Berhad. Retrieved on 4 July 2016 from:

Samling Group. Retrieved on 5 July 2016 from:

Felda Global Ventures. Retrieved on 5 July 2016 from:


RHB Investment, 17 April 2014. IJM Plantation: Reduced Downside Risks. Retrieved on 29 July
2016 from: file:///C:/Google%20Downloads/IST26595.pdf.

FMT, 15 March 2016. Sarawak timber giant Samling under fire from Kiwis. Retrieved on 1
August 2016 from:

The Star, 30 July 2016. Reinventing Felda Global Ventures. Retrieved on 31 August 2016 from:

FT View, 31 March 2015. The Political Risks in Malaysia Are Growing. Retrieved on 30 July
2016 from:

Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). Why Malaysia? Retrieved on 30 July 2016 from:

Financial Times, 3 April 2011. Financial Models Useful But Limited. Retrieved on 30 July 2016
00144feab49a.html#axzz4G8kvM9qg Limitations of Financial Statement Analysis. Retrieved on 30 July 2016 from: