By Ravi Ladduwahetty
Ceylon FT: Maskeliya Plantations, a subsidiary of Richard Peiris Group, in an bid to further diversify its export portfolio has invested Rs 16 million in Bandarawela for fruit and cinnamon cultivation .
"We have used an extent in the Bandarawela region, which has low elevation and marginal teas, where we have cultivated 27 hectares of pears, oranges and mandarins, which we will be supplying to local and export markets," Richard Peiris Plantations Sector Group Managing Director/ CEO Sunil Poholiyadde told Ceylon FT.
However, he said that it was too early to say whether the company would be going in for processing in sugar syrup and canning for value addition.
e also said that the company has invested a total of Rs 219 million in replanting which comprises Rs 164 million for tea, Rs 33 million for rubber, Rs 14 million for fruits and Rs 2 million for cinnamon.
Maskeliya has replanted 42 hectares for the year ended 2013/ 2014 while there are 186 hectares for the upkeep of immature teas, he said.
Meanwhile, the 20% wage increase which had been advocated in the negotiations between the Employers' Federation and the plantation trade unions and the corresponding Rs 144 million increase in the gratuity provisioning along with adverse weather conditions with heavy rain, have severely impacted Maskeliya financial performance for the year ended 2014.
The revenue for the year under review has declined to
Rs 3,416,223 from the
Rs 3,574,776 a year ago. The Gross Profit has also declined to Rs 52.6 million from the Rs 288.7 million the previous year. The post tax loss has been Rs 122.7 million from the Rs 162.2 million profit in 2013 the overall losses for the year under review has been Rs 92 million over the Rs 151.6 million in 2013.
Poholiyadde also said that Maskeliya hopes for a complete turnaround in the financial performance in the year 2014/2015, after the disaster in the 2013/ 2014 period due to the 20% wage increase and the corresponding gratuity provisioning.
We will be hoping to increase production and productivity while also improving product quality as well, he said.