ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka’s Watawala Plantations said net profit rose 168 percent to 212 million rupees in the March 2017 quarter from a year ago, with its tea business returning to profit and despite a sharp fall in palm oil earnings.
Sales of the group rose 5 percent to 1.8 billion rupees over the period, according to interim accounts filed with the stock exchange.
Quarterly earnings per share were 89 cents compared with 32 cents a year ago. The stock last traded at 33.60 rupees.
The accounts showed that Watawala Plantations’ tea business returned to profit in the March 2017 quarter, while there was a sharp fall in palm oil profits.
“Profitability of the palm oil segment was below expectations as the government reduced the duty on palm oil by 40 rupees in 4QFY17,” said Watawala Plantations Managing Director Vish Govindasamy.
In the year to March 2017, EPS was 5.18 rupees, with net profit up 137 percent to 1.2 billion rupees, which Govindasamy said was Watawala’s highest-ever profit “on the back of the increased performance in the oil palm and tea segments”.
Palm oil continued to be the highest contributor to the company’s annual profitability, mainly because of the increased crop and higher Net Sale Average achieved during the year, he said.
Watawala Plantations achieved the highest profitability by any regional plantations company since privatization, he said.
(COLOMBO, May 24, 2017)