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Illovo posts jump in profit

South Africa's Illovo Sugar Ltd posted a 30 percent rise in first-half earnings on Thursday as output rose and said it expects solid results ahead.

Illovo, a unit of Associated British Foods, said diluted headline earnings per share for the six months to end-September totalled 82 cents, compared with 62.9 cents a year earlier.

Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-off and non trading items.

The firm - Africa's biggest sugar producer with operations in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Mozambique - said revenue rose 25 percent to 5.7 billion rand ($640 million).

Illovo said full-year sugar output was likely to increase by as much as 15 percent from the previous season. The company produced 1.526 million tonnes of sugar last year.

“This increase will be driven by an increase in South Africa, where a return to more normal growing conditions will likely produce an increase in cane crushed,” it said in a statement.

The company also said a recovery in sales in South Africa and Tanzania was expected in the second half of the year.

Illovo shares have gained 25 percent so far this year, compared with a 16 percent rise in the broader All-share index. - Reuters

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