Clover ups earnings

Johannesburg - Clover Industries [JSE:CLR], a branded consumer goods and beverages group operating in South Africa and other selected African countries, on Monday restated its diluted headline earnings per share from continuing operations to 67.3 cents for the six months ended December 2010, from a previously stated 72.8 cents.

This compares with 12.3 cents a year ago.

Revenue increased by 6.1% to R6.5bn and normalised operating profit was up 2.4% to R328.6m.

A final dividend of 15 cents per share was declared, for a total dividend for the period of 25 cents a share.

Clover chief executive Johann Vorster said: "We are satisfied with this solid performance. Clover managed to grow its profitability and market share despite difficult trading conditions in the second half of the financial year, where input costs started to rise sharply."

The group's Project Reset, where the benefits of efficiencies across the supply chain were passed on to customers, had a positive impact and Clover experienced strong sales and volume growth of 8.3% in its branded products category.

Overall volumes grew by 5.4% after a further strategic reduction in bulk commodity product volumes of 13.4%.

During the last quarter of the financial year selling prices were increased to recover a sharp escalation in wages, fuel, energy and ingredients. These increases were however difficult to fully implement at the time as some parts of the country experienced an oversupply of milk during autumn and early winter that led to lagging competitor prices.

This impacted to some extent on the group's normalised operating margin, which was down slightly to 5.0% from 5.2% in the previous period.
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