Lube Warning

July 22, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Chevron Lubricants has reported net profits of 533 million rupees in the June 2012 quarter, up 26 percent from an year earlier, but has warned of tougher times ahead. The firm said earnings for the quarter were 4.40 rupees per share. In the half year to June earnings were 9.95 rupees on profits of 1.19 billion rupees, up 42 percent.

In the June quarter sales rose 1.4 percent to 2.56 billion rupees but cost of sales fell 3.6 percent allowing gross margins to grow 12.5 percent.

Chief executive Kishu Gomes told shareholders that an economic slowdown was beginning to hit the firm towards the end of the quarter and if conditions persist “the full impact of it will be felt going forward.”

Sri Lanka ran into a balance of payments crisis in the second half of 2011 as state energy enterprises borrowed heavily from banks to manipulate prices and the Central Bank kept rates down by printing money.

Though corrective steps were taken in February 2012, it resulted in the rupee falling from 110 to over 130 during the period and interest rates also went up.

Meanwhile in a knee-jerk Mercantilist reaction, authorities also raised taxes on vehicle imports, hur