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Extraordinary impairment charges drive Ceylon Tea Brokers into the red

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Company however able to declare a modest dividend

Ceylon Tea Brokers PLC, listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange as the first standalone tea broking company in 2010, has reported a negative bottom line in the year ended Mar. 31, 2020, despite posting an overall performance its chairman, Mr. CPR Perera, saw as encouraging in the face of lower production and declining tea prices.

The loss was the result of an extraordinary impairment charge of Rs. 119.85 million (Rs. 21.45 million the previous year), on account providing for loans and advances to tea suppliers in accordance with SLFRS standards. This has been charged to the company’s marketing expenses of Rs. 133.3 million.

“This had a significant impact on the company’s bottom line (down to a loss of Rs. 62.5 million from a profit of Rs. 21.54 million the previous year) resulting in a much lower PAT compared to 2018/19,” Perera said.

However, the company’s tea business had posted a profit of Rs. 21.5 million during the year, down from Rs. 115.3 million a year. Despite the negative bottom line, the directors have proposed a modest dividend of eight cents per share against the previous years 35 cents per share involving a payout of Rs. 14.5 million absorbing 67.75 of the distributable profit.

Perera reported that they had done well to post a 18% increase in the volume of tea it handled in the year under review although the value of the tea marketed had shown only a marginal increase on account of the decline in tea prices during the year.

Ceylon Tea Brokers’ fully owned subsidiary, Logicare (Pvt) Ltd. had commence operations during the year. This company operates state-of-the-art warehousing complex providing over 12,000 pallet locations. It primary caters to the warehousing requirements of the parent’s producer clients adding value at both ends of the supplier chain.

“With state-of-the-art infrastructure, modern equipment, cutting edge technology and a team of expert, Logicare is equipped as one of the best one-stop logistic service providers with a strong ability to serve various industry verticals,” Perera said.

“During the year under review Logicare partnered with some of the leading companies in Sri Lanka as well as Multi-national corporations as their strategic 3PL (third party logistics) service provider covering various industry verticals such as FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), apparel, stationary, telecommunications and e-commerce.”

He was confident that this company, in the context of the growing demand for 3PL services globally, would significantly contribute to group revenue and profitability in the future.

The company’s CEO/Director Waruna de Silva explained that the impairment charges arose from some tea producers scaling down operations of account of lower production and operations but on a positive note, a few factories that have closed down had re-opened.

Ceylon Tea Brokers origins go back to 2005 when the Captal Alliance Group acquire the long established produce broking firm of De Silva, Peiris and Abeywardena subsequently listing it on the CSE.

The company’s major shareholders are Ashthi Holdings (Private) Ltd. (30.39%), Mr. WAT Fernando (26.78%), Jetwing Travels ( 18.68%), Ms. Shiromal Cooray (5.98%), Associated Electrical Corporation (2.96%), and Mr. CPR Perera/Mrs. D. Perera (1.92%)

The directors of the company are: Messrs. CPR Perera (Chairman), RJN de Mel (Deputy Chairman), WAT Fernando (MD), DGW de Silva (CEO), KHS Deshapriya (COO),Ms. Shiromal Cooray,, HMS Perera, BRL Fernando, DH Madawala, KAD Fernando, HTD Nonia and Z Mohamed.

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SLT & Mobitel successfully conclude digitization of Lankagama Village

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Fulfilling its role as the nation’s pioneer in Telecommunication Services, the SLT Group successfully completed the President’s directive of providing high-speed connectivity solutions to the Lankagama Village recently.

An event was held to mark this proud achievement on 20th September 2020 in the presence of Oshada Senanayake – Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), Lalith Seneviratne – Group CEO of SLT & Mobitel, Kiththi Perera- Chief Executive Officer of SLT, M.B.P. Fernandez – Chief Operations Officer of SLT, Prabath Dahanayake – Chief Marketing Officer of SLT, Sudarshana Geeganage – Chief Financial Officer of Mobitel, Shashika Senerath – Chief Marketing Officer of Mobitel, Rasantha Hettithanthrige – Senior General Manager, Engineering & Operations at Mobitel along with SLT & Mobitel technology partners Huawei, ZTE and the community.

The SLT Group provided high-speed 4G/LTE broadband and enhanced voice services within record-time despite the fact that the Lankagama Village is located at the southern boundary of the Sinharaja Rain Forest, in the Neluwa Divisional Secretariat, Galle District; posing severe logistical challenges. Further, the SLT Group also offered SMART classroom solutions consisting of tabs, laptops and school supplies including stationery thereby opening up a world of possibilities for the students in the remote village. (SLT)

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A ‘phygital’ experience at HSBC Premier Centre in Pelawatte

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With the demographic equation changing and the mass affluent customers now also choosing to live in the suburbs, HSBC is gearing its branches of the periphery of the city to service customers in this segment.

Pelawatte has become the latest HSBC branch to be upgraded to be an exclusive Premier Banking Centre to meet the growing demand of the affluent population in the residential hub of the Colombo metro region.

The newly refurbished Premier Centre was declared open by Mark Prothero, CEO for HSBC Sri Lanka and Maldives. Also present was Nadeesha Senaratne, Country Head of Wealth & Personal Banking, together with senior management and staff.

Nadeesha Senaratne, said, “HSBC has established a long history of 128 years in Sri Lanka, and in the past few years we have seen the value of strategically expanding to meet the specific needs of our customers.”

HSBC’s Pelawatte branch was opened in 1998 and is conveniently located at no 418B Battaramulla – Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla which currently serves a diverse portfolio of retail banking customers. With the new improvements undertaken, HSBC hopes to provide customers with an inclusive banking service, and attract potential new customers with its Premier banking proposition and worldwide banking service, within the expanding residential neighborhood.

The Premier Centre in Pelawatte models HSBC’s flagship Premier Centre located in Flower road- Colombo 7, with an expansive ‘open’ space concept for casual open dialog with customers. The space has been optimized to enhance the customer experience by providing a ‘phygital’ banking experience with private meeting rooms specially designed to give customers an exclusive banking service with the assistance of a dedicated Relationship Manager. It also features video conferencing facility, which enables customers to connect with their Premier RM’s internationally, while enjoying the highest standards of privacy. Customers can walk out of the branch with the ‘Bank in their pocket’ by opening an account in less than an hour and begin transacting digitally, almost instantly.

(HSBC)

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Low valued companies’ stocks in demand

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By Hiran H.Senewiratne 

Share price increases of low valued stocks were a highligh of CSE trading yesterday, market analysts said.

It is said that HNB Finance, which featured one of the smallest Initial Public Offerings (IPO) in February this year, witnessed more than a 75 percent share price increase, thus adding 21 index points to the All Share Price Index. According to stock-brokers,  when the HNB Finance shares started trading, it stood at Rs. 8.80 and at the end of the day it  shot up to Rs. 15.50, which was a Rs. 6.60 or 75 percent increase.

At the IPO  in February it is said that the  number of issued shares reported 10 million  at Rs. 5.70 per share. However, during the day  more than 1.9 million  shares or close to 20 percent  traded, which was an unusual occurrence, brokers said. 

Further, there was a significant price  increase in the stocks of several low valued companies, including Pan Asia Power, Mackwoods Energy, Laugfs Power, Vallibal Power Erathna, Vidula Lanka, Lotus Power, National Lanka Finance and many more. These listed companies’ share prices noticeably increased and traded well. Those companies’ share prices are all below Rs. 10, market analysts said.  

Amid those developments profit taking was noted since it is near to the month end and both indices showed mixed reactions. All Share Price Index was up by 18.23 points and  S and P SL20 went down by 16.06 points. The slight drop in the banking sector resulted in indicating a downward trend in S and P SL20, market sources said.

Yesterday, turnover stood at Rs. 2.53 billion with three crossings. Those crossings were reported in JKH, which crossed 540,000 shares to the tune of Rs. 73.44 million; its share price traded at Rs. 136, HNB 250,000 shares crossed for Rs. 32 million, its share price traded at Rs. 128 and Sampath Bank 150,000 shares crossed for Rs. 20.3 million, its share trading at Rs. 135.

In the retail market top five companies that mainly contributed to the day’s turnover were,  Kelani Tyre Rs. 151.5 million (91.9 million shares traded), Royal Ceramic Rs. 130 million (1.15 million shares traded), Hemas Holdings Rs118.3 million (1.68 million shares traded), Expolanka Rs. 112.6 million (11.8 million shares traded) and Richard Pieris Holdings Rs. 93.2 million (6.2 million shares traded). During the day  134.2 million share volumes changed hands in 26024 transactions. Sanasa Development Bank is going for a right issue, which was conveyed to the CSE yesterday

On the previous day, Hayleys PLC dominated turnover  at the CSE with 2 million of its shares trading for Rs. 467.3 million, accounting for 13 percent  of the total.  Finco had bought the shares (amounting to a 2.6 percent stake) done via two crossings at Rs. 230 per share. 

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