Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)
CAPE TOWN - Food and beverage group Clover expects its headline earnings per share (Heps) to increase more than 20percent for the year to end June, citing improved market conditions as a reason.

The group said in a trading statement yesterday that its earnings per share (Eps) would also lift by a similar margin during the period.

It said the Eps would be 16.60cents higher than the 83.10c reported in June 2017.

However, the group said it did not have reasonable certainty to provide guidance on the specification of the increases.

“Once Clover obtains reasonable certainty in this regard it will issue a further trading statement,” the group said.

The news, however, failed to rally its stock, which continued to fall during trading yesterday.

The shares fell to R16.07, down from Wednesday’s closing price of R16.28 a share, before settling at R16.34.

Clover is a leading and competitive branded consumer goods and products group operating in South Africa and selected African countries.

“Headline earnings per share for the current period is expected to be more than 20percent, that is 12.80c higher than Heps of 63.90c reported for the comparative period,” the group said.

Challenging year

Last year the group said it had had to contend with an exceptionally challenging year alongside other food producers and retailers as a result of subdued economic conditions.

Chief executive Johann Vorster said the most significant impacts on last year’s performance were the prolonged drought, a wetter and cooler summer and rand volatility, and they were all beyond the group’s control.

However, he said the issues were all once-off impacts that had affected the company’s performance.

Vorster said these once-off costs amounted to about R196.8million during the year.

The group also spent R46.8m on restructuring, R90m on drought remedies and R60m on project launches.

The group managed to lift its revenue by 2.4percent to R10billion while operating profit decreased by 44.3percent to R314.5m. Operating margin decreased to 3.1percent from 5.7percent as compared to last year.

The company expects to release its annual financial results for the year to end June on or about September 12.

-BUSINESS REPORT