McLeod posts 5% rise in net

Calcutta, Jan. 25: Tea producer McLeod Russel India Ltd has clocked a 5.15 per cent rise in standalone net profit at Rs 123.15 crore for the third quarter ended December compared with Rs 117.11 crore in the same period a year ago.

Net sales of the BM Khaitan group firm grew 10.72 per cent to Rs 434.12 crore from Rs 392.07 crore in the year-ago quarter. Total income rose over 10 per cent to Rs 448.13 crore.

"Prices have been about Rs 21 higher for us, while production has been marginally lower. We expect a higher crop next quarter and prices should be higher between Rs 20 and Rs 25. This quarter, we have also made an additional provision of Rs 5 crore for staff salary at the tea estates," whole-time director Kamal Baheti said. The company said unfavourable weather in both India and Africa helped to push up the price.

Dry weather in January-May across producing countries and excessive rains during July-September in north India reduced output till October.

However, the company said some recovery was expected in November.

"Production from own leaf for the company is lower by 7.1 million kg whereas production from bought leaf is higher by 5.3 million kg during the nine months ended December 31," the company said.

During the quarter, output stood at 22 million kg against 19.7 million kg last year.

For the nine months, operating earning before interest and tax was marginally lower at Rs 379 crore against Rs 387 crore in the year-ago period because of crop loss, increase in wage cost and a rise in fuel and power cost.