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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Sri Lanka consumer durables retailer March net up

Sri Lanka consumer durables retailer March net up

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Kumar

Kumar
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
Senior Vice President - Equity Analytics
May 17, 2012 (LBO) - Singer (Sri Lanka) Plc, a top consumer durables retailer said sales were strong despite currency depreciation in the first quarter as harvests were good in rural areas, thought television sales fell.

In the March 2012 quarter profits grew 35 percent to 337 million rupees. The firm reported earnings of 2.70 for the quarter. The stock closed at 90 rupees, up 1.90 rupees Thursday.

Singer said revenues rose 21 percent to 6.1 billion rupees, and cost of sales rose at a faster 24.9 percent to 3.9 billion rupees and gross profits rose at a slower 16 percent to 2.23 billion rupees.

Though margins narrowed, after tax profits were partly helped by tax add backs, group chief executive Asoka Pieris told shareholders. The income tax change fell 188 million rupees in the quarter from a year earlier.

Sri Lanka's rupee fell from 110 to 130 to the US dollar in the first quarter as the Central Bank printed money to keep interest rates low and credit spiked partly due to state manipulation of energy prices.

But interest rates have since rise, and the rupee is expected to strengthen towards the second half to the year.

Asoka Pieris, group chief executive officer said sales were up despite rising energy costs and a devaluation of the rupees. Television sales were down 23 percent compared to last year, when there was a cricket world cup series.

"On the positive side, the harvest was good whereas the harvest was affected by floods in the prior year," Pieris told shareholders.

Analysts say Sri Lanka's rulers who print money and trigger balance of payments crises have in the past imposed punitive taxes on consumer durables claiming that they were 'luxury goods' but that had not been done during the latest crisis.

Consumer durables may have been untouched because there is a policy of making Sri Lanka a shopping paradise targeting foreign visitors.

The protectionist domestic production lobby had earlier also called for import taxes. Protectionists have helped keep what are basic electrical appliances in many countries out of reach of the poorest segments of the population.

But fresh taxes were slapped on vehicle imports during the current.

Meanwhile Singer said motor cycle sales were down 46 percent.

Refrigerator sales were up 40 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, sewing machines were up 25 percent, fans grew 74 percent, microwaves 500 percent irons 229 percent.

Water pump sales were up 45 percent, bicycles sales were up 61 percent.
http://www.lbo.lk/fullstory.php?nid=1651957816

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