Amira CFO Wacha eyeing "return to growth model" in new fiscal year

Amira CFO Wacha eyeing "return to growth model" in new fiscal year

Amira Nature Foods, the UAE-based and US-listed packaged rice supplier, has filed its results for the year to the end of March, 12 months that saw a change in auditors and the company fight allegations over its financials.

The company's revenue fell 19.5% year-on-year to US$563.4m. Amira said the decline was "primarily" due to lower volumes in emerging markets, macro factors including the impact of currency translation on its business in India, as well as lower prices for its basmati rice in the wake of a decrease in input costs. The group said it believes the fall in volumes in emerging markets was "short term in nature".

Net profit attributable to shareholders of the company stood at $25.8m, versus $42.1m a year earlier.

Amira provided an adjusted EBITDA figure, which excluded legal and professional charges, costs from a notes offering and non-cash expenses for share-based compensation. It stood at $74.7m, compared to $99.9m the previous financial year.

CFO Bruce Wacha said: "As we noted previously, 2016 was a challenging year due to a number of factors that we believe to be largely temporary in nature. Nonetheless, we maintained margins at historical levels – generating adjusted EBITDA of $74.7m and adjusted EBITDA margins of 13.3% for the year. We continue to maintain strong relationships with our major customers and now that we have reported our results for fiscal 2016 we look forward to returning to our growth model in 2017 and having a deeper engagement with our investors. We continue to see many opportunities in India and around the world to further expand our business and create value for our shareholders."

The year had seen a change in the appointment of new auditors and a re-audit of three years of the group's accounts. Amira has beenfighting in court claims from Wall Street research firm Prescience Point about the company's financial statements.

Wall Street research firm Prescience Point last year accused Amira of over-stating its revenue and claimed chairman and CEO Karan Chanana was using company funds for personal use.

The re-audits did not lead to any material changes of Amira's accounts compared to what the company had previously reported despite Prescience Point's allegations. The company's new auditor reviewed the allegations by Prescience Point and found them to be unsubstantiated.