Tongaat profit up

2012-11-13 00:00

THE impressive results posted yesterday by KwaZulu-Natal-based JSE-listed Tongaat Hulett — most notably a pickup in the sale of land in and around Umhlanga, north of Durban — points to a city that is poised for long-term local economic development (LED) growth.

Tongaat yesterday posted a 25,4% growth in profit from operations to R1,3 billion for the six months ended 30 September 2012. Headline earnings came in 30,5% higher at R654 million.

Profit from land conversions and developments grew from R62 million for the six months ended September 30, 2011 to R244 million in the current period.

The CEO of the agri-processing giant, Peter Staude told The Witness yesterday that the company recorded a number of key sales at the giant public-private mixed use, mixed income development Cornubia.

The integrated development boasts a number of components, namely housing, a town centre (retail/commercial) and an industrial platform — bringing together in one area the social elements of home ownership, employment and retail requirements.

Staude said they had sold 58,5 hectares of industrial land, with 43,5 hectares left to sell — pointing to the long-term consolidation of eThekwini as an industrial hub.

“While I think the whole world is going through a challenging period, we should not ignore the fact that eThekwini is a vibrant city which continues to expand and attract people and investments. Cornubia Industrial is a very significant development. We have already made big sales. It [the development] is real. We think it will be fully sold within a year or two … or even earlier.”

He added that they have already received significant interest in the Cornubia town centre, which will house retail developments.

It was a good period for the company’s sugar businesses in South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well.

The sugar division grew its profit from operations from R1,08 billion to R1,36 billion.

Staude said its sugar operations in South Africa would produce even more sugar in the year ahead, due primarily to heavy rainfall in September and October 2012, which effectively created a production backlog this year. “Our South African operations have been focused on getting more cane to the mills. We had a 540% increase in rainfall compared to the long-term mean in September, and a 179% increase in October.”

Tongaat, which employs as many as 42 000 during the peak milling season, generates employment and business opportunities for thousands of farmers, suppliers and workers in KZN.

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