JOHANNESBURG - Packaged goods company Pioneer Foods said on Monday its headline earnings per share jumped 30 percent to 317 cents in the six months to March 31.

Pioneer which is one of the largest South African producers and distributors of a range of branded food and beverage products, declared a gross interim dividend of 105 cents per share for the interim period, unchanged from last year.

The group boasts such brands as Weet-Bix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko and White Star and exports to more than 60 countries across the globe.

Pioneer said total sales volumes were up four percent following the judicious management of relative price points that also supported market share growth.

Group turnover however marginally decreased by three percent to R9.9 billion, largely due to price deflation in soft commodities that weakened price realisations, principally in maize and to a lesser extent, wheat and rice.

Pioneer said it was well positioned to deliver sustained volume and improved value growth while maintaining a firm handle on costs and efficiencies, and anticipated further improvement in performance in the second half of the financial year.

- African News Agency (ANA)