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Illovo suffers steep profit drop

May 30 2011 07:51 Reuters

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Johannesburg - Illovo Sugar [JSE:ILV] posted a 34% drop in full-year earnings on Monday, hurt by a drought in South Africa and a negative currency impact, but said it expected stronger growth this year.

South Africa's Illovo, a unit of Associated British Foods, said diluted headline earnings per share for the year to end-March totalled 112.2 cents, compared with 170.7 cents a year earlier.

Headline earnings are the main profit gauge in South Africa and exclude certain one-off items.

Illovo, Africa's biggest producer of the sweetener, said revenue fell to R8.1bn from R8.5bn. The company has operations in South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Swaziland, Tanzania and Mozambique.

Sugar production was slightly lower at 1.639 million tonnes, compared with 1.685 million tonnes a year earlier.

The company said drought in South Africa impacted production, while it was also hit by the negative currency movements.

A stronger rand is a negative for companies that sell their products overseas, as it eats into profits when revenue from abroad is brought home.

In lieu of a dividend, Illovo declared a final capital reduction distribution of 34 cents per share.
 
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