McLeod Russel India (MRIL) has suffered a 8 per cent drop in its operating profit in the first half of the year ended September 30, 2010, along with a drop in its total sales volume and exports.

An information update released by the company after the announcement of its second quarter results shows that MRIL's operating profit in the first half stood at Rs.217.50 crore against Rs.236.90 crore although the selling price of its teas was higher during this period, even as sales volumes were 2 lakh kg lower at 326 lakh kg. The net profit dropped by 2 per cent.

During this period, total exports were lower by 1.6 million kg at 8.9 million kg mainly due to crop loss during the main export season. Pest attack and excessive rains impacted the North Indian tea in general during the May-August period.

However, things were better during the second quarter when the operating profit was one per cent higher, even as the sales quantity remained depressed as did crop.

Tea prices increased by Rs.10 a kg during this quarter as compared to the same quarter of the previous year leading to higher operating earnings.

Staff cost too went up on account of revision of wages in tea estates and higher bonus provision.

On overseas ventures, the company said that the venture in Vietnam recorded a EBIDTA of $0.7 million on a sales turnover of $ five million, even as a fourth factory was acquired.