ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka's Hatton Plantations (HPL) net losses for the March quarter fell 218 percent from a year earlier to 172.9 million rupees amidst weak sales and production, ahead of a change in ownership, the firm said.
Revenue of the firm fell 11 percent from a year earlier to 1.2 billion rupees while cost of sales grew 18 percent to 1.3 billion rupees leading to gross profits falling 156 percent to 125.7 million rupees.
Administrative expenses grew 77 percent to 84 million rupees due to an increase in the minimum wage.
"(A) depressed tea market and extra provision for retirement benefit obligations severely affected the profitability of the Company," Former Managing Director Vish Govindasamy said.
Higher tea supply from Kenya depressed market prices, he said.
"The market and field conditions were not conducive for the tea industry throughout the year," he said.
The company’s net finance costs rose 72 percent to 16 million rupees.
HPL received a tax reversal of 29 million rupees, compared to an income tax of 74 million rupees a year earlier.
Long-term borrowings of HPL fell to 50 million rupees from 151 million rupees a year ago. Short-term borrowings were 96 million rupees in March down from 101 million rupees a year earlier.
Net assets per share was 6.61 rupees, down from 8.25 rupees.
Lotus Renewable Energy, a part of Singapore's G&G Group, purchased a 51 percent stake in HPL for 1 billion rupees at 8.30 rupees a share in May.