AEEI chief executive Khalid Abdulla. File Photo: IOL
CAPE TOWN – African Equity Empowerment Investments Limited (AEEI), a diversified investment and empowerment group, lifted headline earnings a share 37 percent to 38.67 cents in the six months to February 28 after strong organic and acquisitive growth in its fishing and brands, and technology divisions.

Group chief executive Khalid Abdulla said given the tough economic environment he was satisfied with the results and it was nice to see their Vision 20/20, mapped out some years ago, starting to come to fruition.

While the group was on the lookout for suitable acquisitions, all major divisions were trading in line with what they had anticipated at this time, he said.

The share price increased 3.24 percent after the results were released yesterday afternoon and closed at R2.55.

Group revenue increased by 31 percent to R792 million from R604m in the interim period, due mainly to significant growth in the fishing and technology divisions.

Taxed profit increased by 246 percent to R546m, which was ascribed to good operational management.

Headline earnings per share rose 37 percent to 38.67c from 28.32c, while earnings per share increased by 238 percent to 95.77c from 28.32c.

AEEI’s strategy to increase its asset base and broaden its portfolio was evident in the 32 percent growth in total assets to R9.7 billion.

This was mainly due to the growth in the fishing and technology divisions.

Net asset value increased by 8 percent to R5.3bn. An interim dividend of 11c per share was declared.

“Our goals and targets are being met and in most instances, exceeded,” said Abdulla.

The fishing and brands division performed strongly with revenue up 56 percent and operating profit higher by 92 percent, mainly due to good catches and strong sales performance of squid, offset by a lower operational performance of lobster landings and the pelagic division.

The abalone division continued to expand and increased spat production to about 200 000 a month, from 100 000.

Information and communications subsidiary AYO Technology Solutions reported good growth in profit after tax.

It achieved significant organic growth in its businesses and acquisition growth was strong, as it builds on its “Go to Market” strategy.

AEEI’s associate investment in BT Communication Services produced consistent earnings and it contributed positively to profit from equity accounted investments.

The companies in the health and beauty division, which import and distribute cosmetic brands as well as make, sell and market a range of natural products, reported slower revenue growth due to subdued customer and consumer demand.

An improvement was expected by management in the second half.

Genius Biotherapeutics, one of Africa’s largest medical biotechnology companies, in collaboration with research partners at the University of Cape Town, planned to start clinical trials on breast cancer treatment in the next few months.

Events planning and production subsidiary espAfrika hosted a successful 20th Cape Town International Jazz Festival post interim period.

The company hosts most of its events in the second half of the financial year. Three-year-old radio station Magic 828 reported increased listenership. Tripos Travel hoped to break even in the second half.

AEEI’s management said they were excited about the potential for growth via acquisitions, and further announcements were expected to be made soon.

BUSINESS REPORT