Fin24

Imperial lifts profit, auto unit robust

2012-08-22 09:15

Johannesburg - South African transport group Imperial Holdings [JSE:IPL] reported a slightly below-estimates 15% rise in full-year profit as a weak logistics market at home eroded gains from a recovery in auto sales and a robust showing in Germany.

Imperial, which runs car rentals, dealerships and logistics businesses, said on Wednesday diluted headline earnings per share totalled 1,487 cents in the year to end-June compared with 1,289 cents a year earlier.

That was slightly below 1,510.4 cents in a Reuters poll of 11 analysts.

Imperial, the nation’s biggest owner of car showrooms, is benefiting from decades-low interest rates and above-inflation wage increases that helped underpin car sales while its logistics business at home is struggling due to a tentative economic recovery.

South African vehicle sales increased 18.3% year-on-year in July with the daily selling rate hitting a fresh five-year high.

Imperial, which also runs a logistics business in Germany, said sales increased 25% to R81bn.

The company lifted its final dividend 46% to 380 cents per share, bringing total payout for the year to 680 cents. That compares with 638 cents estimate in Reuters poll of 10 analysts.

Shares in Imperial are up more than 50% so far this year, outpacing a 10% rise in the JSE Top 40 - (Tradeable) [JSE:J200] index.