Growth in SA and Africa buoy Distell in tough times

Continued growth in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, and the benefits derived from a weak rand resulted in the Distell Group raising revenue year-on-year by 9,3% to R8,7 billion for the six months to December 2012.
In a climate of mostly muted markets because of the continued global pressure on disposable consumer income, sales volumes increased by 6,6%. With operating expenses 10,0% higher, the company nudged its operating profit up by 5,3%.  

Net operating margin dropped marginally to 14,0%, compared with 14,6% for the same period a year ago.

Headline earnings grew 12,9% to R877,4 million, while headline earnings per share increased 12,6%  to 433,0 cents.

An interim cash dividend of 152 cents has been declared (2011:143 cents), up 6,3% on the comparable period.  

Notwithstanding a difficult domestic market compounded by the impact of excessive excise duty hikes, domestic revenue increased by 9,9% on sales volumes that were 6,7%  higher. As expected, the raised duties eroded spirits sales, and, to a lesser extent, those of wines, while the company’s growing portfolio of comparatively lower-priced RTDs, including leading cider brands, Hunter’s and Savanna, delivered excellent growth.

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