Sri Lanka Watawala Plantations December net down 39-pct

Jan 27, 2012 (LBO) - Sri Lanka's Watawala Plantations said December 2011 quarter net profit fell 39 percent to 158 million rupees from a year ago, with a profit expected in the last quarter as well after losses earlier in the year. The company said that strong palm oil prices had helped cushion a fall in tea and rubber prices.

Sales of the firm fell six percent to 1.6 billion rupees in the quarter from the previous year, a stock exchange filing said.

Net profit for the nine months to December 2011 was down 65 percent to 145 million rupees while earnings per share fell to 61 cents from 1.77 rupees from a year ago.

According to a segmental analysis of the results, net profit from plantations in the nine-month period plunged to 29 million rupees from 333 million rupees the year before.

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Net profit from the group's marketing business was 166 million rupees compared with 158 million rupees the previous year.

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"The group continued to improve its performance over the nine months where it recorded a profit of 145 million rupees after tax," Vish Govindasamy, managing director of Watawala Plantations, said in a note accompanying the accounts.

"This showed a third quarter profit of 158 mill

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