Sasini's profits lifted by higher tea an

June 10 [Mon], 2013, 16:50
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Kenyan tea and coffee producer Sasini reported a 61 percent rise in its first-half pretax profit on Friday, which it said was mostly due to higher tea and coffee sales and better tea prices, although it cut its dividend.

Its pretax profit rose to 286.4 million shillings, while earnings per share rose to 0.91 shillings for the six months ending in March from 0.78 shillings in the same period a year ago.

"The increase in profits is largely as a result of higher production and sales volumes for tea and coffee and also improved tea prices," the company said in a statement.

"The results were however negatively impacted by significantly lower coffee prices and the effects of a stronger Kenya shilling."

Sasini said that its performance was further curbed by rising labour, power and agricultural input costs which narrowed margins. Total revenue rose 7 percent to 1.47 billion shillings.

Sasini, which is also involved in dairy farming, horticulture, tourism and retailing, said it would pay an interim dividend of 0.25 shillings per share, down from 0.50 shillings per share last year.