Sri Lanka Talawakelle Tea Estates returns to profit

July 29, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Talawakelle Tea Estates said it had returned to profit in the June 2009 quarter after making a loss in the previous quarter because of a sharp fall in the crop. A severe drought and the lagged effects of last year’s commodity market crash that led to the neglect of tea bushes, sent the island’s tea production plunging in the first few months of this year.

Talawakelle Tea Estates made a loss of 23 million in the March quarter with sales down by 36 percent in the period. The company, a unit of the Hayleys group, said in a stock exchange filing that net profit in the June 2009 quarter was 32 million rupee, 21 percent lower that the same period the year before.

Sales in the June 2009 quarter were up nine percent to 666 million rupees.

The company’s first half profit was only nine million rupees, down 93 percent from a year ago, because of the loss in the first three months.