Ceramic Industries (CRM) advised on Friday that for the year ended July 2012‚ its headline earnings per share are expected to be between 21% and 24% lower than the prior comparable period and basic earnings per share are expected to be between 14% and 17% lower.

The group's operating profit is expected to be between 32% and 35% lower than the prior comparable reporting period.

The company said that record sales volumes were achieved during the period at its South African tile operation‚ however profitability was reduced as a result of above-CPI input cost increases and a deliberate strategy in the first half of the year to contain product price increases to combat price pressure in the local market.

It said while CPI-linked selling-price increases were implemented in the latter half of the year‚ the impact on the division´s margins was not material.

Its Australian tile business continues to under-perform‚ it added. Inability to deliver consistently high quality fashionable product eroded the division´s customer base and the resulting under-utilisation of manufacturing capacity impacted on production costs. Remedial measures implemented in the operation during the period failed to effect the urgent turnaround required.

Centaurus reported an operating loss of R44.7 million (2012: R3.7 million) for the period.

Its Sanitaryware operations improved on the sound performance delivered in the prior year‚ despite subdued market conditions. Production and sales volumes increased in the review period. Intensive cost containment and increased sales of higher value products resulted in an improved margin.

The group's results are expected to be published on or about 6 September. - I-Net Bridge