Cape Town - The latest financial results of African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI) show how efficiently the business is run, CEO Khalid Abdulla told Fin24 on Wednesday.
AEEI was formerly known as Sekunjalo Investments Limited and is a subsidiary of the privately held Sekunjalo Investment Holdings.
"It was a financial year where what we have built on in the past started to contribute. We already knew last year that we would do better. We not only did better, we 'shot the lights out'," said Abdulla.
For the financial year end results to August 31 2015 the group showed headline earnings which increased by 94% from R79m to R153m. Headline earnings per share increased from 16.03 cents to 31.06c. Revenue increased by 8% from R621m to R672m and operating profit was up by 88% from R99m to R186m, while total assets increased by 14% from R1.2bn to R1.3bn.
The Net Asset Value (NAV) per share increased by 25% from 115.81c to 144.93c and dividends declared increased by 25% from 2c to 2.5c.
"Our food and fishing business performed exceptionally well and we grew our abalone business. Our IT division, our tourism events and our investment in Pioneer also performed well," continued Abdulla.
Premier Fishing SA, the largest black-owned and controlled fishing company in SA, this year surpassed expectations, according to Abdulla. This was due to increased sales volumes, better pricing, good catch rates and efficient vessel scheduling and utilisation.
Recently, the strategic investment in Pioneer Food Group Limited (Pioneer Food) has been re-classified under the food and fishing division as management structured all food-related operations under one segment. The investment in Pioneer Foods increased from R189m to R318m for AEEI’s 0.75% stake.
The Technology Solutions Group’s revenue increased by 17% from R185m to R216m on the back of the successful implementation of the Hospital Information and Laboratory Systems (HIS) project by Health Systems Technology (HST) in 230 pathology laboratories by the end of September 2015.
AEEI Events and Tourism manages and owns the rights to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, ranking in the top five jazz festivals in the world.
In Abdulla's view the increase in total assets shows how very resilient the group's balance sheet is.
During the financial year AEEI also expanded into new markets like Tanzania.
"We are building a good name and brand in our existing businesses and we will grow in the rest of Africa - for instance Kenya and Tanzania. At the same time we will grow sideways in SA. Internationally we are doing well with our lobsters," said Abdulla.
As for the larger dividend being paid, he said it shows that the group is now consistent in paying out dividends.
"Going forward we will consistently grow organically as that is the management's skill. We will also do more acquisitions. A lot is happening. The market has seen we are a company that can run a business, so opportunities have increased," he told Fin24.
"Our pipleline has increased too and going forward we will do some serious acquisitions, for instance in IT and with multi nationals. We also expect our deal with SAAB to close shortly. So, acquisitions form the way to go as they build on our organic growth from the past."
He pointed out that AEEI's share price has been among the top performers in growth over the past few years - over the one, three and five year periods.
“Looking ahead, AEEI now has a solid balance sheet and our cash flow has improved. Our business model is on a firm growth path and we continue to add value for our shareholders,” said Abdulla.
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