Kegalle Plantations PLC, the largest producer of natural rubber in the country, has continued to invest in replanting on all its plantations despite a downturn in profitability in the year ended march 31, 2013, when earnings fell sharply to Rs.495 million from Rs.679.8 million the previous year.
The company’s Chairman, Dr. Sena Yaddehige, said in the company’s annual report that adverse weather conditions pushed down the rubber production to 4,066 mt from the previous year’s 4,155 mt and prices too dropped 10%. Despite this, the company had maintained a turnover of Rs.2.6 billion for the year with a gross profit of Rs.730 million, he noted.
The Chairman announced that Kegalle was looking forward to building profitable relationships with foreign partners to expand its plantation sectors overseas and they were also confident that recent budget proposals to increase funding for plantations from low cost external sources would serve them well.
"This is indeed a timely proposal for our industry which will no doubt reap rich and long-term rewards for all our stakeholders," Yaddehige said.
The company had invested Rs.254 million in the year under review replanting 223 ha of rubber and maintaining the new plantation at a cost of Rs.184 million. Tea replanting expenditure and maintenance stood at Rs.24 million while replanting of coconuts and other crops amounted to Rs.15 million. The company had also invested Rs.30 million on factory development and new machinery.
Yaddehige said that Kegalle’s total assets had grown 19% to Rs.5.7 billion while total shareholder funds were up 17% to Rs.3.3 billion.
He also commented on the 20% wage increase which confronted them with fresh challenges and stressed the need for productivity improvement of employees.
"The cost of tea production in Sri Lanka is still the highest in the world; hence in order for teas to be globally competitive, it is imperative to have in place a wage system linked to productivity," he said.
Kegalle has a stated capital of Rs.250 million, a general reserve of Rs.225 million, timber reserves of Rs.8.6 million and retained earnings of Rs.2.85 billion in its books. Total assets were running at Rs.3.03 billion and total liabilities at Rs.2.31 billion.
RPC Plantation Management Services with 73.03% is the largest shareholder of Kegalle with JB. Cocoshell (2.3%) being the only other shareholder owning over one percent of the company.
Net assets per share were up to Rs.133.48 from Rs.113.68 the previous year and the share traded at a high of Rs.119.50 and a low of Rs.86.20 against a trading range of Rs.234.90 and Rs.76 the previous year.
The directors of the company are: Dr. Sena Yaddehige (Chairman), Mr. J.H.P. Ratnayeke (Deputy Chairman), Mr. S.S. Poholiyadde (CEO), Prof. R.C.W.M.R.A. Nugawela and Dr. S.S.B.D.G. Jayawardena.