Special Correspondent

Increased wage cost and lower crop affect profitability

KOLKATA: Lower crop levels along with increased wage cost led to a drop in profitability of Harrisons Malayalam, the plantation company of the RPG Group. Fourth quarter loss stood at Rs. 8.99 crore against Rs. 48 lakh, while the net profit for 2008-09 declined marginally to Rs. 6.04 crore from Rs. 6.18 crore. Net income showed a marginal drop in the fourth quarter but was up from Rs. 201.65 crore to Rs. 287.26 crore during the year. The company is engaged in rubber, tea and pineapple cultivation besides some other horticultural crops. With 14,000 hectares under cultivation, its operations are spread over Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It is billed as India’s largest natural rubber producer.

Its segment revenues show that during the fourth quarter it saw a marginal increase in its revenues from tea while suffering a drop in its revenue from rubber. A release issued by the company said that massive replanting in rubber and infilling in tea and a steep increase in employees’ costs led to higher costs in 2008-09 as compared to the previous year.