Sri Lanka Malwatte profit down despite higher rubber earnings

Nov 23, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Malwatte Valley Plantations said net profit for the September quarter fell six percent to 152 million rupees from a year ago with earnings from rubber up sharply but no provision made for a recent wage hike. Sales in the quarter rose 21 percent to 717 million rupees, according to a company stock exchange filing.

Malwatte Valley has both tea and rubber plantations with its teas grown in the Uva region of the central hills usually fetching high prices during the quality season in August-September.

The stock exchange filing showed no provision had been made for wage arrears and gratuity following a recent near 40 percent wage hike granted in October after labour unions blocked movement of tea from jill country estates to the Colombo auctions.

The wage hike wrested by estate labour unions that had caused losses in many other plantations firms during the quarter.

Malwatte Valley said that in the nine months to September earnings from rubber rose 233 percent to 203 million rupees from 61 million while that from tea rose seven percent to 388 million from 361 million.

Tea export earnings fell sharply to 4.5 million rupees from 22 million rupee in the nine-month period.