Sugar scare: Terra Mauricia’s Jan to Sept profits dip 26%
Terra, which has diversified from sugar to energy, alcohol production, property development and financial services, said pretax losses from its mainstay sugar business widened to Rs 114.1 million from Rs 33.1 million.
Sugar woes continue to plague the island economy with Terra Mauricia, a leading Mauritian sugar producer, reporting a 26 percent fall in pretax profit for the first nine months of its financial year.
The company said on Wednesday that lower sales and a fall in prices for specialty sugars led to the steep dip in pre-tax profits to Rs 142.7 million ($4.67 million) for the period from January to September 2013, compared to Rs 193.3 million a year ago.
A leading conglomerate, Terra, which has diversified from sugar to energy, alcohol production, property development and financial services, said pretax losses from its mainstay sugar business widened to Rs 114.1 million from Rs 33.1 million in the corresponding period a year ago.
However, Terra’s energy segment saved the day with a pre-tax profit of Rs 83.3 million, while the alcohol production business followed close on its heels with a pre-tax profit of Rs 78.2 million. The share of miscellaneous businesses run by associates, comprising the ‘others’ segment, was unusually high at Rs 95.3 million, and was explained by the company as abnormal profit arising from the sale of non-core assets (investments and land). The company also admitted that lower finance costs helped boost an otherwise sagging bottom-line.
“The loss incurred to-date is mainly attributable to a drop in volume and prices of specialty sugars sold, and to increased input and labour costs,” the company said in a statement.
Terra also expressed concern over full-year profit achievement, saying, “In spite of the seasonality of a number of our activities, trends to-date indicate that overall performance for 2013 should be somewhat lower than that of the previous year.”
The company concluded by saying that earnings per share for the period fell to Rs 0.16 from Rs 0.30 a year ago.
Terra Mauricia Ltd
The origin of Terra dates back to 1838. A conglomerate, established in Mauritius, the company was incorporated in July 1960 and started out as a small sugar factory.
Today, Terra is one of the major players in the cane sector in Mauritius. Terragri Ltd manages some 6,000 hectares of sugar cane land in the northern part of the island (out of a total of 7,000 hectares of land owned). Its sister company, Terra Milling Ltd is best known worldwide for its production of specialty sugars.
The group diversified its activities throughout the years, from an essentially sugar-oriented company to one with interests in energy production, alcohol production and commercial distribution, property development, construction and financial services.
Terra Mauricia Ltd, the group’s holding company, is quoted on the official list of the Stock Exchange of Mauritius under the Investment segment and is on the SEM7 list.
Terra has expanded into Africa; it is present in Côte d’Ivoire through its investment in two sugar factories. It is also in Madagascar, having acquired a minority stake in Orange Madagascar, and through Grays, a subsidiary engaged in alcohol distillation and commercial distribution.
Source: Company Website