Sri Lanka Finlay teas sell well in Iraq

June 10, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s James Finlay group said tea exports to Iraq did well in 2008 despite the strife and that it expanded its marketing and launched a new product with higher profit margins.

Jayasuriya said the company took advantage of the oil price boom of 2007-08 which increased consumer spending in the Middle East, Russia and other former Soviet states.

“Finlays, whose brands enjoy deep-rooted loyalty amongst Middle Eastern customers, leveraged this trend,” he said.

” . . . through skilful marketing, we were able to raise shelf prices sufficiently to offset margin losses due to high auction prices without serious effect on sales or market share.”

Finlays Colombo’s net profit for year ended December 31, 2008 more than doubled to 216 million rupees while revenue rose to 4.2 billion rupees from 3.6 billion rupees. Chairman Kumar Jayasuriya said that Finlays Colombo made big investments on marketing in Iraq last year.

” . . . Iraq was once again our single largest market, in spite of the difficulties faced by marketers due to the conditions prevailing there,” he told shareholders in the annual report filed with the stock exchange.

“We made significant investmen