Group Five jumps on higher profits

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Johannesburg - Shares of South Africa's Group Five rallied on Monday after the construction firm posted a 40 percent rise in first-half earnings and dividend, signalling a multi-year industry slump may be ending.

Like other builders in Africa's top economy, Group Five was hit hard when orders dried up after the end of the boom for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The industry has also been stung by a $143 million regulatory fine over bid-rigging.

Group Five said in a statement its short-term outlook was “fair to good” even as conditions remain weak in some of its markets, adding it had some strong prospects in African power and transport infrastructure.

Shares of the company were up 4.3 percent at 45.40 rand at 11:55 SA time.

Headline earnings totalled 204 cents a share in the six months to end-December, from a restated 145 cents a year earlier.

Headline eaernings per share, the main measure of profit in South Africa, excludes some one-time items.

The company raised its dividend to 45 cents from 32 cents a year earlier. - Reuters

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