Post-tax profit of the group -- involved in oil palm plantations, oils and fats, beverages, investments holding, and real estate and leisure sectors - rose marginally by five per cent to Rs. 10 billion while revenue rose by 99 per cent to Rs. 69 billion.
"We are encouraged by the present emphasis by policy makers at all levels on economic progress, a focus we lacked for over 30 years due to the situation of unrest," he said, adding however that the "significant devaluation of the currency, the rise in interest rates caused by rapid credit growth and a consequent drying up of liquidity in the monetary system, coupled with the overall energy cost increase, proved to have a compounding effect on cost escalations, which if followed by inflation will further lead to cost pressures.
" The brewery business invested Rs 1.35 billion during the year under review on capacity enhancement and working capital, in anticipation of booming demand due to tourism and increased market access.
Asian regional economies in which Carson's operates, continued to record strong real GDP growth, with Indonesia recording 6.5% and Malaysia 5.1%.
The chairman spoke of growth opportunities in the group's core business both in Sri Lanka and the region. He said Asian growth opportunities are now giving way to wider vistas in the African and Middle Eastern regions, which corporates should seriously consider as future opportunities.
Separately the report also discussed the issues concerning its beverage sector. "National policies to curb the availability and affordability of licensed alcohol through distribution and pricing strategies, have not led to a decline in alcohol-related social negatives," it said, adding that this is because the 'economically under-privileged classes continue to resort to the cheaper and more widely available illicit liquor as a preferred option".
Carson said it continues to maintain the view that consumers can only be weaned away from harmful illicit alcohol by giving them an alternative that is less harmful, more affordable and more socially acceptable. "Beer in our view satisfies the criteria on all counts to become an accepted alternative that complements a more temperate lifestyle," it said.