DURBAN – Explosives and speciality chemicals company AECI yesterday said strong performance from its mining solutions and chemicals segments helped its performance in the year to end December.

The group said the mining unit increased revenue 10 percent to R5.02billion from R4.57bn, largely due to good volume growth outside South Africa. It said overall volumes grew 4.2percent with foreign operations contributing 54percent to the segment’s total revenue.

AECI said the operations rose 9percent to R520million compared to R477m in the prior period.

The segment comprises explosives in AEL Mining Services, and mining chemicals in Experse and Senmin.

The chemicals division was a star performer with a 38.1percent increase in revenue to R2.34bn from R1.69bn, while profit from operations increased by 50.9percent to R241m from R160m the previous year.

AECI said the two segments propelled the group to a 26 percent increase in revenue to R23.31bn, up from R18.48bn, with the acquisitions of Schirm and Much Asphalt contributing 17 percent of the group's revenue. The group said it currently generated 40percent of its revenue outside of South Africa, mainly in dollars and euros.

Profit from operations increased 27percent to R2bn, up from R1.58bn, while headline earnings per share rose by 9percent to 1045cents a share, up from 959c compared to last year.

The group declared a dividend of 366c, up by 7.6percent compared to last year’s 340c.

Chief executive Mark Dytor said that the AECI performance came in an environment that remained constrained.

“Although demand and prices in the global resources sector were buoyant overall, the strong rand exchange rate against major currencies partly offset the benefits of higher chemical input prices and also had a negative impact on earnings generated outside South Africa,” Dytor said.

AECI shares rose 6.02 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R94.79.