Finlays Colombo March net up 22-pct

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Finlays Colombo’s net profit rose 22 percent to 100 million rupees in the March 2015 quarter from a year ago despite a marginal drop in sales with key markets in the Middle East hit by political turmoil.

Earnings per share were 2.86 rupees in the quarter, according to a stock exchange filing by the company, a big tea blender and exporters controlled by the UK’s Swire Group.

Sales fell one percent to 1.4 billion rupees in the March 2015 quarter from the year before while cost of sales fell at faster six percent to just over a billion rupees.

In addition to tea blending and packaging, the company is also engaged in insurance brokering, temperature controlled logistics, environmental services and airline agencies.

Finlays Colombo has said it is trying to diversify away from Middle Eastern markets and also focusing on value-addition.

Tea auction prices in Colombo have fallen sharply in the first quarter of 2015 owing to turmoil in the Middle East and the devaluation of the rouble in Russia, another big market.

Last year the company expanded its distribution network in Saudi Arabia and increased the number of high value products sold to both the European and Japanese markets.

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