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Operating loss up $9 million over previous year

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, September 1, 2009) – The Fiji Sugar Corporation recorded a net operating loss before income tax of FJ$36.8m [US$18.6 million] for the year to May 31 this year, an increase of about F$17.5m [US$8.8 million] compared to the previous year.

The corporation also recorded a decrease in cane production for 2008 of 2.3m tonnes compared to 2.5m tonnes the previous season.

In a statement yesterday, FSC chief executive Deo Saran said the corporation incurred a trading loss of $7.2m compared to $22.7m the previous year.

But the FSC had to take into account the unrealised exchange loss of $24.4m in relation to the EXIM Bank of India's loan as a result of the devaluation, flood damage of $6.1m and loss associated with the divestment from South Pacific Fertilizer Ltd of $2.4m.

As a result, the net operating loss amounted to $36.8m.

Mr. Saran said the corporation has a long-term loan of US$50.4m established as line of credit with the EXIM Bank for the mill upgrade program.

He said the corporation had drawn down US$39.1m on May 31st against the facility.

Saran said with the devaluation unrealised foreign exchange loss of $24.4m had risen for the year under review and had been charged to the current year's profit and loss account.

He said total sugar produced during the season was 207,966 tonnes compared to 237,418 tonnes the previous year.

"The tonnes cane to make a tonne of sugar ratio increased to 11.16 compared to 10.4 in the previous season," he said.

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