By John Oyuke
The coffee and tea producer’s unaudited results indicate net income slumped to Sh177.06 million from Sh423.53 million last year.
The overall after tax operating profit for the period also dipped to Sh160 million from Sh198 million during the same period last year, a drop of 19 per cent.
However, revenues for the listed firm increased to Sh1.37 billion from Sh1.26 billion last year. The company’s Managing Director, Dr Caesar Mwangi said the dip in profit was mainly due to high operational costs and harsh economic environment.
“The results were affected by various factors including the drought experienced in the first three months of the year which depressed production of tea and coffee,” he said.
“Also affecting results were reduction in price realisation for coffee from Sh626 per kg to Sh514 per kg, high cost of labour and inputs such as fertilisers, fuel and electricity.”
Sasini Chairman Dr James McFie asked government to create a conducive environment through policy reforms to attract and retain investments.
“Governments keen on keeping viable industries must enact favourable policies to encourage investment,” said McFie.
McFie said export taxes on agricultural products, applied as a percentage of product value is killing the sector, adding, congestion at the Mombasa Port was hurting tea exports, leading to loss of key markets.
“When tea cargo is held up at the port because ships cannot offload or load, it makes it difficult for exporters to purchase more tea from farmers since traders cannot be paid before shipment of the product.”
The firm recommended payment of an interim dividend of 50 cents per share.