Bell Equipment bemoans policy uncertainty, but delivers 'reasonable’ profit in tough market.

One of Bell Equipment's articulated dump trucks.
One of Bell Equipment's articulated dump trucks.

The South African company Bell Equipment, which offers the world's largest range of articulated dump trucks, reported an 8% increase in revenue to R4.04bn for the six months to end-June.

Its headline earnings per share rose by 25% to 164c, which the company says is “reasonable” given the tough operating and economic conditions in many of its markets.

In South Africa, trading conditions deteriorated further on the back of “prolonged policy uncertainty and a lack of much-anticipated economic stimulus”.

“Global demand was not as strong as anticipated, and this led to higher inventory and debt levels than planned and a resultant increase in financing costs. Production volumes have been reduced in line with expected demand, and inventory and debt levels will normalise in the coming months,” the company said in a statement.

In the UK, Bell says the pound weakness has hurt its margins. “The group is monitoring the situation around Brexit and what impact that could have on future equipment demand.” North America remains a key area for growth.

Its interim dividend remains the same as last year, at 20c a share.

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