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Universal reports improved results

09 Nov 2017. Universal Corporation reported gains in both net income and operating income for the six months ended 30 Sept in its half-yearly report for fiscal year 2018.

The leaf merchant said net income for the six months ended 30 Sept was USD 29.7 million (EUR 25.6 million), up from USD 19.8 million for the same period of the prior fiscal year. Operating income for the period was USD 51.5 million, up USD 16.2 million compared to the same period last year.

President and Chief Executive Officer George C. Freeman, III, stated the results were in line with expectations and reflected a slight increase in volumes combined with lower selling and administrative costs.

Freeman however said the company expects total lamina sales volumes for fiscal year 2018 to take a dip.

"Looking to the second half of our current fiscal year, the reduced burley leaf production volumes in Africa will impact our total volumes sold for that region, which mainly ship in the third and fourth fiscal quarters. Less African burley leaf was grown this fiscal year due to excess production and low grower prices in fiscal year 2017 and unfavorable weather conditions this fiscal year. Although we still expect our total shipments to be weighted to the second half of the fiscal year, we currently anticipate modestly lower total lamina sales volumes for fiscal year 2018. We are estimating that this fiscal year's global burley production declines will recover in next year's crop, Freeman said.