Kenya's Limuru Tea 2014 pretax profit falls 95 on lower prices

A woman picks tea leaves at a plantation in Nandi Hills, in Kenya's highlands region west of capital Nairobi, November 5, 2014. REUTERS/Noor Khamis

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A drop in the average price of Kenyan tea eroded 2014 pretax profit at Limuru Tea by 95 percent last year to 2.10 million shillings ($22,727), the company said on Tuesday. The firm said the average price of black tea, of which Kenya is the world's leading exporter, slid 16 percent to 180 shillings per kg, wiping out 11 percent of its total revenue that fell to 92 million shillings. Lower valuation of some of its assets, including tea in its fields, and a 10 percent jump in costs, affected earnings further, Limuru Tea said. The firm said it would pay a dividend of 1.00 shilling per share, compared with 7.50 shillings the previous year. It reported negative earnings per share of 0.28 shillings from 23.8 shillings in 2013. The company said this year's performance would depend on the weather after a dry spell in the first two months. "If weather and market conditions improve, then 2015 performance is expected to also improve," Limuru Tea said. A drought in recent weeks in Kenya is driving down tea output and processing factories are receiving fewer deliveries from fields each week, the regulator has said. ($1 = 92.4000 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by James Macharia)