The earnings before interest expense, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the group saw a remarkable 32% growth to reach Rs. 13.74 billion during the third quarter. The Consumer Foods and Insurance businesses significantly contributed to this positive outcome. For the first nine months, cumulative group EBITDA decreased by 6% to Rs. 31.03 billion.
This was mainly on account of the EBITDA of the Group’s Bunkering business in the 2Q of the previous year, which recorded a substantial increase in profitability in its core ship bunkering operations driven by higher margins due to the significant increase in global fuel oil prices. The translation impact on US Dollar denominated revenue streams of the Group stemming from the appreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee also contributed to this decline.
Group profit before tax (PBT) witnessed a substantial 88% increase to Rs. 5.49 billion, driven by the rise in EBITDA, along with the easing of interest rates and normalized working capital requirements, particularly in the Consumer Foods and Supermarket businesses. However, the cumulative group PBT for the first nine months marked a 67% decline, reaching Rs. 6.73 billion.
It's worth noting that the cumulative PBT for the year included a net exchange loss of Rs. 1.14 billion, including the exchange loss on the $ 225 million term loan facility at Waterfront Properties Ltd, primarily related to the transition of the functional currency from USD to LKR. The corresponding period in FY22/23 recorded Rs. 7.61 billion of net exchange gains recorded primarily on US Dollar denominated cash holdings and liabilities at the Holding Company due to the sharp depreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee against the US Dollar