Johannesburg - Logistics group Imperial Holdings [JSE:IPL] reported a
14% rise in first-half profit on Wednesday as debt-led consumer spending lifted
its auto unit and offset a weak logistic market.
Imperial, which runs car rentals, dealerships and logistics
businesses, said headline earnings per share totalled 829c in the six months to
end-December compared with 727 cents a year ago.
Imperial, the nation's biggest owner of car showrooms, is
benefiting from decades-low interest rates and above-inflation wage increases
that have helped underpin car sales while its logistics business at home is
struggling due to a tentative economic recovery.
Revenue was 18% higher at R45.3bn.
Imperial and other car showroom operators sold 9.2% more
cars in 2012, a solid year despite slowing economic growth and job losses.
The company said trading conditions in the South African
logistics market and in the car rental and tourism industries would remain
challenging, while its international logistics business would be impacted by a
slowing German economy.
"We expect subdued growth in the 2013 financial
year," it said, but added that its balance sheet was strong and the
company was well positioned to take advantage of any attractive growth and
acquisition opportunities as they arise.
The company declared an interim dividend of 380c, up 27% on
the previous year.
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