Picture: File

JOHANNESBURG - South African-based multinational brewing and beverage company Distell said on Friday its revenue was up 9.3 percent in the six months ended 31 December 2017, mainly on the back of a 3.7 percent rise in volumes.

Distell said net cash generated from operating activites increased 15.4 percent, and declared an interim dividend maintained of 165 cents per share, unchanged from the same period last year. However headline earnings per share, the measurement of profit most commonly used in South Africa, decreased by 5.1 percent to 509.2 cents.

Domestic market revenue increased by 8.2 percent while sales volumes were up 2.9 percent amid a suppressed consumer environment and sustained competitor activity, Distell said.

African markets outside South Africa delivered revenue growth of 18.5 percent, on sales volumes which were up 6.6 percent, largely driven by the inclusion of KWA Holdings E.A. Limited in Kenya, which was acquired in April 2017.

A few countries delivered mixed results as the moderate uplift from higher commodity prices had not fully flowed through to the underlying economies, coupled with changes in the company's operating models.

Focus markets on the continent such as Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe all recorded strong growth. But overall performance was negatively impacted by challenging trading conditions in Mozambique, Nigeria and a one-off negative impact from the group’s Tanzania Distilleries.

Volumes in international markets beyond Africa grew by 6.7 percent, with revenue up 9.4 percent as the increased local investment in the UK was impacted by the effects of a stronger rand and a less favourable sales mix.

Distell said growth across advanced economies and most emerging markets pointed to a more favourable global economic outlook. although there were still risks facing the domestic economy in the short term.

"The recent strengthening of the rand, higher grape prices and water shortages will have a negative impact on the business," it said.

"The group looks to defend and grow its market share through an optimised brand portfolio and innovation. It will look to continue and lead in the recovery of the brandy category and drive its wine strategy across the price continuum."

It said while the drought in the Western Cape posed a real risk to the supply of grapes and wine in the medium term, the company had secured sufficient supply for the current cycle and invested a total of R22 million to waste water treatment and reuse programmes to mitigate against further supply risk.

- African News Agency (ANA)