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Camellia suffers fall in profits in first half of the year amid poorer prices for tea in India and Bangladesh

Agriculture, engineering and banking group Camellia suffered a decline in profits in the first half of the year amid poorer prices for tea in India and Bangladesh.

Bosses at the company, which has its headquarters in Linton, Maidstone, said civil unrest in Darjeeling has brought all tea production in the district to a halt.

Pre-tax profits from continuing operations declined 72% to £1.9 million but revenues grew 23% to £123.6 million, helped by favourable exchange rates.

Camellia has tea plantations in India, Kenya and Bangladesh
Camellia has tea plantations in India, Kenya and Bangladesh

Overall the company made a £16.3 million profit thanks to the net £15.8 million on the sale of Duncan Lawrie Asset Management last year, the private bank it operated from offices in Wrotham.

It made £19.2 million on the sale, with the bank incurring £3.4 million of costs in its “wind down period”.

Bosses remained confident about the outlook, stating it is unlikely to be seriously affected by Brexit as more than 90% of revenues comes from outside the EU.

Chairman Malcolm Perkins stuck an upbeat tone as the firm increased its dividend from 35p to 37p a share.

“Reported revenue has benefitted from favourable exchange rates and the sale of last season’s tea stock but this has had little impact on overall profitability which has been held back by substantially lower prices for tea in India and Bangladesh...” - Malcolm Perkins, Camellia

He said: “Tea prices in Africa, strong avocado prices and the performance of some of our non agricultural businesses are encouraging.

“Reported revenue has benefitted from favourable exchange rates and the sale of last season’s tea stock but this has had little impact on overall profitability which has been held back by substantially lower prices for tea in India and Bangladesh.”

Camellia was established 129 years ago in a small tea garden in the hills of north-east India and today employs over 80,000 people worldwide.


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