JOHANNESBURG - Raise boring and drilling company Master Drilling said on Tuesday  its revenue increased 2.8 percent to US$121.4 million while operating profit decreased marginally to $24.8 million in 2017.

The company said this was a positive result given that one of the group’s machine categories, the XX-large machines category, was utilized only 40 percent during the year. Cost of sales increased in line with the increase in revenue, bringing about a flat gross profit percentage in dollar terms.

"Despite 2017 having been a challenging year with various political changes across the world and a tough local macroeconomic environment, we delivered stable operational results in 2017 with the continued focus on working capital bearing fruit in the form of satisfactory cash generation," CEO  Danie Pretorius said.

Master Drilling's headline earnings per share in U.S. currency terms decreased 18.9 percent to 11.6 cents, and was down 26.5 percent to 154.4 cents in rand terms.

The company said an uptick in the global economy and commodity cycle was expected to have a positive impact on its business.

"Our pipeline is strong and we are excited about our entry into India and Australia, further diversifying our geographical exposure," it said.

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