May 04, 2014 (LBO) – Agalawatte Plantations, a unit of Sri Lanka’s Mackwoods group said it will expand its oil palm cultivation which had become a key contributor to gross profits in 2013, amid declining rubber prices and weather affected tea. Palm oil crop had increased to 7.4 million tonnes in 2012 up from 6.8 million tonnes a year earlier.
International oil palm prices had declined and moved between 720 to 810 dollars per metric tonnes, the firm said.
But with the price of a fresh fruit bunch moving to 32.77 rupees a kilogram t he firm had earned 124 million rupees in gross profits from the crop, up from 96.5 million in 2012.
According to audited accounts, at company level gross profits were 265 million rupees in 2013.
“Given the success of oil palm, the company is in the process of increasing its oil palm extent which currently stands at 1,247 acres,” Chairman Chris Nonis told shareholders.
The firm also has a joint venture company AEN Oil Palm Processing (Pvt) Ltd. The processing firm had paid 42.4 million in dividends.
The firm was also continuing to invest in re-planting tea and rubber.
In 2013 national rubber production had dropped 12 percent but the company had produced 2,816 million kilograms,