Sri Lanka Singer profits halve in slow sales, high interest

May 12, 2013 (LBO) – Profits at Singer (Sri Lanka) Plc, a consumer durables retailer fell 51 percent to 174 million rupees in the March 2013 quarter from a year earlier, as interest costs rose and sales slowed. The group reported earnings of 1.40 rupees per share for the quarter.

Gross revenues were flat at 6.2 billion rupees, cost of sales was flat at 3.9 billion rupees, and the company also kept gross profits without direct interest flat at 2.1 billion rupees. Direct interest rose to 147 million rupees from 109 million rupees.

Finance costs at operating level rose 98 percent to 316 million rupees.

Sri Lanka is recovering from a balance of payments crisis triggered by money printed to finance state energy enterprise loses from mid 2011, sending the rupee plunging from 110 to 134 to the US dollar.

Energy prices were raised in early 2012 and rates hiked and in 2013 April electricity prices were again raised.

“The business environment was difficult in the first quarter with low demand by the customers and consumer sentiments being further affected by the extensive discussions on possible increase of electricity charges,” chief executive Asoka Pieris told shareholders.

“The effect