291110 Clover CEO Johann Vorster at the media briefing on their coming listings in JSE.photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi 53

Johannesburg - South African food and beverage firm Clover Industries Ltd posted a 14.2 percent fall in headline earnings on Tuesday, clipped by brisk inflation levels and higher raw material costs.

Headline earnings per share, which strips out one-off items, totalled 102.7 cents in the year ended June compared with 120 cents a year earlier.

Consumer spending in Africa's most-advanced but ailing economy is under pressure due to higher personal debt levels while higher input costs have hit manufacturers such Clover and Tiger Brands.

“We took a strategic decision to increase prices gradually to protect hard-won market share and sales volumes,” chief executive Johann Vorster said.

South Africa's main consumer inflation measure slipped to 6.3 percent in July from 6.6 percent in June, but that slowdown came after the period under review and at over 6 percent remains stubbornly high.

Clover said sales increased 8.9 percent to 8.5 billion rand but volumes were lower as higher prices put off consumers. - Reuters