Sri Lanka Watawala Plantations cuts losses on palm oil gains

Oct 24, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Watawala Plantations returned to profit in the September 2011 quarter, containing first half losses at 13 million rupees, as increased palm oil crops and prices helped offset losses from tea. Group sales in the six months to September 2011 sales rose eight percent to almost three billion rupees from a year ago. The group had made a net profit of 157 million rupees in the first half of last year.

Watawala Plantations made a loss per share of six cents in the six months to September 2011 against a profit of 66 cents the year before as a recent wage hike eroded earnings, a stock exchange filing said.

The company turned a profit of 28 million rupees in the September 2011 quarter compared with a loss of 41 million rupees in the June 2011 quarter.

According to a segmental review of company performance, the group’s plantations business made a loss of 37 million rupees in the six months to September 2011 compared with a profit of 154 million rupees the year before.

Profits from the group’s marketing business were stagnant at 74 million rupees.

At company level, losses in the tea business of Watawala Plantations rose to 406 million rupees in the first half from 140 million rup