Sri Lanka Finlay estate profits down 52-pct in March

Chandi Dharmaratne

May 14, 2012 (LBO) – Profits at Udapussellawa Plantations, a unit of Sri Lanka’s James Finlay group fell 52 percent in the March 2012 quarter with revenues hit by weak performance in rubber, interim accounts showed. The firm reported earnings of 55 cents for the quarter.

Revenues fell 5 percent to 747 million rupees. Cost of sales fell 1 percent to 695 million rupees but gross profits fell 38 percent to 51 million rupees.

Revenues from tea was flat at 650 million rupees, and there was a gross profit of 3.5 million rupees in the quarter from a the product, against a loss of 12.2 million rupees a year earlier.

Revenues from rubber fell to 96 million rupees from 134 million and gross profits to 48 million rupees from 95 million.

Rubber is a high margin product compared to tea.

According to Central Bank data Sri Lanka’s rubber production fell 11 percent to 26 million kilograms in the first two months of the year.

Rubber prices have also come off from last year’s highs. At an auction in April 26, top grade sheet rubber fetched 480 rupees a kilogram, down from 576 rupees a year earlier.