Sri Lanka Maskeliya estate profits, management fees, up

July 3, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Maskeliya Plantations has reported a five fold increase in profits amid better export prices for tea, but steep management fees, interest and wages costs have kept profits in check.
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The firm charged 86 million rupees in interest to the profit and loss account, and said 183 million rupees on capital expenditure including including 69 million rupees on field development.

Maskeliya, a unit of Richard Pieris group, reported profits of 55.6 million rupees for the year ended March 2008, up from 11.3 million a year ago, with revenues rising to 2.5 billion rupees from 1.9 billion rupees.

The firm has paid 131 million rupees in management fees to RPC Management Services, up from 99 million rupees a year ago.

Management fees are a legacy of Sri Lanka’s privatization process where the government allowed major shareholders to charge management fees in a back-door leveraged buyout style transaction in order to finance their purchase.

The fees have come under fire from minority shareholders in particular, and have also been blamed for reducing profits and funds available for investment.

Some firms have taken steps to cut fees, egged on by lenders. In the previous financia

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