Johannesburg - The fourth quarter revenue of Africa focused industrial group Lonrho [JSE:LAF] increased 34.3% to £46.2m‚ the group said on Monday.
Like-for-like revenue at constant currency increased by 28.9%.
For the full year to end December 2012‚ reported revenue was up 44.3% to £186.1m‚ a like-for-like increase at constant currency of 23.9%. Headline and like-for-like revenue growth was strong across all four operating divisions‚ the group said.
The company said a strong performance was recorded at Luba Freeport‚ LonAgroAngola‚ and from in-house farming operations all of which exceeded management expectations.
The farming off-take and outgrower programmes have been established‚ are expanding‚ and have started delivery.
The group is successfully transitioning its agricultural operations from short term individual trading contracts to demand driven‚ longer term‚ sustainable‚ growing programmes in conjunction with and in partnership with the world's leading retail chains.
“Throughout 2012‚ the group has continued to develop its operational businesses and remains confident that these are aligned with the strongest growth opportunities in Africa. However‚ progress in certain areas has been slower than expected in the final quarter‚ impacting on revenue and profitability in 2012‚” it said.
CEO Geoffrey White said 2012 had delivered good progress with revenues growing by 44.3% and the successful reverse of Lonrho´s aviation business into Fastjet Plc.
“Following the departure of the group executive chairman in September‚ the executive directors carried out a strategic review of the group's businesses and implemented a plan across the group to heighten focus on margin improvements. This strategic review resulted in the discontinuance of a number of lines of business where exchange risk or the desired margins did not meet the Board's revised investment criteria‚” he added.
The strategic decision to focus on improving margins across the group has not had a demonstrable impact on the latter part of 2012 but has positioned Lonrho to approach 2013 from a stronger and more reliable base with much improved budgeting.
Each business division has‚ during the year‚ transitioned to become cash generative for the group and the balance sheet is satisfactory to support the group and the Board's plans‚ he said.
Quarter four was demanding in several areas of the business where the lead times on delivering new product lines had proven longer than previously expected.
Whilst the reporting of a net operating loss in 2012 is disappointing‚ the shortfalls have largely reflected delays in the timing of delivery of major contract or project implementation delays and not any weakness in the underlying business models‚ which remain very positive‚ it added.
Over the past five months the group has realigned itself to move away from a short term trading focus to concentrate on building long term‚ sustainable‚ businesses with large‚ global corporate clients.
“Lonrho is in the right markets at the right time‚ and the opportunities facing the group as we move into 2013 are clear for the board and the management team to deliver strong‚ profitable and reliable growth for shareholders‚" he added.
The group's preliminary results will be released in late March 2013.
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