Mumias Sugar Plunges Most in 4 Years on Earnings: Nairobi Mover

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Mumias Sugar Co., Kenya’s largest miller of the sweetener, plunged the most in more than four years after posting a first-half loss and saying full-year profit will slump more than 25 percent.

The stock fell 13 percent to 4.20 shillings by the 3 p.m. close in the capital, Nairobi, the biggest decline since January 2009. About 2.53 million shares traded, more than double the three-month daily average volume, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Earnings for the year through June will be “materially lower” than the previous year, after drought conditions led to cane shortages and after poaching from farms by competitors, Kenya’s only publicly traded sugar company said yesterday.

The company posted a loss for the six months through December of 1.1 billion shillings ($12.8 million), compared with a profit of 825.2 million shillings a year earlier.

“They gave a profit warning on the performance for this year and that is what has brought about the panic in the market,” Eric Munywoki, a research analyst at Nairobi-based Old Mutual Securities Ltd., said in a phone interview. “It is a problem that is likely to persist in the medium term because they plan to grow their own sugarcane and it will take 18 to 24 months before harvesting.”

Mumias’ price target was cut to 7.40 shillings a share from 9.87 shillings at Old Mutual.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net