JOHANNESBURG - South Africa’s Tongaat Hulett posted a 37 percent fall in full-year profit on Monday, weighed down by higher-than-expected sugar imports by the country and low international prices of the sweetener.
Diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell to 534.8 cents ($0.4296) in the year ended March 31, from 852.7 cents in the previous year. This was in line with the company’s guidance.
HEPS is the main profit measure used in South Africa which strips out certain once-off items.
The company, which has also operations in Zimbabwe and Mozambique, said its sugar operations in South Africa were hit by imports and its storage.
Also, exports of locally produced sugar in the latter part of the year when global prices were low and the rand was strong, weighed on its performance, the company added.
“The sugar operations were adversely affected by the dynamics of imports into the South African market, low international sugar prices and the impact of stronger local currencies on export realisations,” the company said.
Sugar production rose 10 percent to 1,171 million tonnes, reflecting a slight recovery in drought conditions of the previous two seasons.
An El Nino-induced drought in southern Africa, which led to the driest year on record in 2015, crippled production of maize, sugar and other agricultural products.
Tongaat Hulett declared a final dividend of 60 cents per share, bringing the annual dividend to 160 cents, compared with 300 cents in the previous year.