A worker at PPC Cement in Cleveland, Johannesburg. File picture: Supplied
JOHANNESBURG - South African cement producer PPC on Monday reported a more than two-fold jump in annual earnings, boosted by strong performances in its African operations, particularly in Zimbabwe and Rwanda.

PPC, which has operations in six countries, said its headline earnings per share for the full-year ended March 2018 surged to 15 cents from 7 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items.

The total cement sale volumes increased 6 percent to 5.9 million tonnes, while group revenue rose 7 percent to 10 billion rand ($744.91 million) from 9.6 billion rand in the prior year.

“The performance from Southern Africa cement and materials was subdued, while certain one-off costs had an impact on our overall financial performance,” Chief Executive Officer Johan Claassen said in a statement.

Group core profit, or EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, amortisation and depreciation), fell 9 percent to 1.9 billion rand due to costs related to corporate action, ramp up of plant in the Democratic Republic of Congo and restructuring costs.

PPC spent most of 2017 in merger discussions with cement and investment suitors including local rival AfriSam, Nigeria’s Dangote Cement and Irish building materials group CRH.

In December it concluded that it was no longer interested in selling or buying assets, ending talks about a possible takeover by Swiss group LafargeHolcim.

The South African leading cement group has plants in Botswana, Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Ethiopia.