Losses narrow at Sri Lanka Tea Smallholder Factories

ECONOMYNEXT – Tea Smallholder Factories, which makes black tea from leaves bought from Sri Lankan small farmers, remained in the red in the December 2015 quarter compared with profits a year ago, although losses narrowed from the previous quarter.

The company, in which John Keells Holdings has a 37.62 percent stake, reported a loss of 522,000 rupees in the December 2015 quarter compared with a profit of 15.5 million rupees the year before.

Tea Smallholder Factories’ sales fell by almost a quarter to 447 million rupees during the period, as the firm continue to suffer from the prolonged slump in tea prices, according to unaudited results filed with the Colombo stock exchange.

Basic earnings per share of the firm, whose other two main shareholders are Akbar Brothers Limited with 24.39 percent and Central Finance Company with 22.85 percent, fell to two cents in the December quarter from 52 cents the year before.

In the nine months to 31 December 2015, Tea Smallholder Factories said EPS fell to 45 cents from 1.28 rupees the year before with a 14 million rupee loss compared with 38 million rupees in profit the previous year.

Tea Smallholder Factories said sales fell 28 percent to 1.4 billion rupees in the nine-month period.

The island’s tea small holders in the south, which accounts for the bulk of the tea crop, have been among the worst affected by the commodity price slump.

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