A Distell operation in Cape Town. File picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Johannesburg - Distell, which makes spirits, fine wines, ciders, says record festive season sales in SA helped propel its interim results as revenue gained 11.2 percent.

Distell aims to double the size of its business by 2020.

The company, home to brands such as Hunters Dry, Klipdrift and Three Ships, claims to be Africa's biggest producer of wines, spirits, ciders and ready-to-drink (RTDs) beverages with more than 5 000 staff employed globally. It has operations in sub-Saharan Africa, Europe, North and South America and Singapore.

The company delivered growth across all its core beverage categories, thanks to record domestic festive season trading.

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Distell Group MD Richard Rushton said a stellar performance from South Africa, with double-digit revenue growth, and good gains in some African, northern European markets and Taiwan, had partially offset the effects of weak demand from Angola, the UK, Russia, China and Latin America.

"The challenging global macroeconomic environment is leading to constrained conditions and subdued consumer spending,” said Rushton.

In the six months to December, revenue gained 11.2 percent to R12.2 billion, which was on the back of sales growth of 7.7 percent, showing the benefit of higher prices.

In a statement released on Wednesday, it said operating profit rose 16.5 percent to R1.7 billion.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation gained 14.8 percent was helped by the weaker rand, with currency conversion gains amounting to R192.3 million, it says. Operating expenses rose 10.4 percent as the company continued to fund its growth strategy.

Normalised headline earnings increased 16.8 percent and reported headline earnings by 17.8 percent to R1.2 billion. Headline earnings per share - a key measure of profitability - were 17.7 percent higher at 531.5 cents.

An interim cash dividend of 165 cents was been declared, up from 158c in the previous corresponding period.