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Kakuzi 2014 profit falls after costs rise

26 March 2015, 12:32

Nairobi - Kenyan agricultural firm Kakuzi Ltd said on Wednesday its 2014 pretax profit fell 2.7 percent to 232.8 million shillings ($2.5 million) after costs rose.

Kakuzi, which also produces pineapples, avocados and macadamia nuts, said in a statement total revenues rose 22 percent to 1.69 billion shillings while production costs were up 16 percent to 1.13 billion shillings.

"Avocados were the significant contributor to profits mitigating the downward trend on return on tea for 2014," the company said.

"On tea, although production was up ... market prices were very poor due to a high supply situation in Kenya. We barely broke even on this operation and there were months when sales returns were below our cost of production."

Kenya is the world's leading exporter of black tea and the commodity is a major foreign exchange earner for East Africa's biggest economy, alongside horticulture and tourism.

Data from the regulator Tea Board of Kenya's showed that tea output rose to 444.8 million kg in 2014 compared with 432.2 million kg a year earlier.

Kakuzi said its earnings per share fell to 8.17 shillings from 8.42 shillings in 2013, and said it would pay a dividend of 3.75 shillings per share, unchanged from 2013.

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