Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi.

Johannesburg - Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd., the South African furniture chain that generates more than half its sales from Europe, said first-half profit rose 44 percent as consumer spending and market share improved.

Net income for the six months through December increased to 4.6 billion rand ($425 million), compared with 3.2 billion rand a year earlier, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today.

Sales advanced 17 percent to 67.4 billion rand.

Steinhoff is benefiting from signs of economic recovery in Europe and a weaker rand against the euro, which the company gets through sales at brands including France’s Conforama chain.

The rand’s decline against most other currencies prompted the company to sell 465 million euros ($640.7 million) of convertible bonds in January.

“In a period where consumer confidence in Europe showed some improvement, market share gains and margin improvement were prominent in many of the countries where we operate,” Steinhoff said in the statement.

Steinhoff shares rose 0.8 percent to 51.74 rand by 2:42 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 105.3 billion rand.

The stock has advanced 15 percent this year, compared with a 2.7 percent increase in the 165-member FTSE/JSE Africa All Shares index. - Bloomberg News