AECI declares dividend in spite of R570m hit from Covid
DURBAN - AECI YESTERDAY declared a final cash dividend of 470 cents a share, despite the chemicals group taking a R570 million Covid-19-related hit to its profits for the year to the end of December.
AECI operates segments such as mining explosives, mining chemicals, water, plant health and Schirm.
Profits from operations declined 55 percent to R917m, affected by impairments of certain property, plant and equipment, and goodwill to the value of R890m.
AECI said R821m of the R890m was related to the impairment of goodwill on the acquisition of AECI Much Asphalt.
Chief executive Mark Dytor said AECI’s results demonstrated the benefits of the strategy to diversify geographically despite the negative impact of Covid-19.
“We now operate in 22 countries and regions on six continents, and provide products and services to customers across a broad range of sectors.
“This diversification makes us more resilient and agile in responding to changing market conditions. Without these advantages, some unprecedented challenges in 2020 would have had a significantly more severe impact on our performance,” Dytor said.
Its revenue slid 3 percent to R24.11 billion, with declines recorded primarily in the AECI Mining and AECI Chemicals segments.
The impact of Covid-19 on revenue was R1.09bn during the period.
Of the total revenue, 44 percent was generated outside of South Africa and mostly in dollars and euros.
The weaker average rand exchange rate against these major currencies assisted in limiting the revenue decline, AECI said.
The group reported a 15 percent decline in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to R2.94bn, and headline earnings per share fell 23 percent to 880c.
AECI expected the Covid-19 pandemic to remain the over-riding risk given uncertainty as to current and future waves of infection, the availability of vaccines for mass vaccinations and their efficacy, and the time and extent of post-pandemic economic recovery.
AECI’s shares closed 3.36 percent higher at R100.26 on the JSE yesterday.