Sri Lanka Maskeliya Plantations hit by wage hike

Nov 17, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Maskeliya Plantations said it slipped into the red in the September 2009 quarter after costs shot up following a wage hike wrested by estate labour unions. Maskeliya Plantations said half of the wage arrears is to be paid in October 2009 while 25 percent each is payable in December 2009 and January 2010. The company said in a stock exchange filing that it made a loss of 296 million rupees in the September quarter compared with a net profit of 10 million rupees a year ago despite sales increasing by 11 percent to 678 million rupees.

Maskeliya, part of the Richard Pieris & Company group, made a profit of 53 million rupees in the June 2009 quarter, following an annual loss of 126 million rupees in the year to March 2009.

The September 2009 quarter loss pushed Maskeliya into the red in the first half with a loss of 243 million rupees compared with a net profit of 62 million in the first six months of the previous financial year.

The company reported losses in all of its four tea growing districts.

The firm made a loss per share of 10.96 rupees for the September 2009 quarter compared with earnings of 0.38 a year ago

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