Tongaat Hulett Ltd,  a South African agribusiness company, reported a 28 percent increase in first half profits carried by strong sugar production and sales, as the company hopes to expand production further going forward.

In results which demonstrated  a stable and continuing growth for the sugar producer, diluted headline earnings per share – the main indicator of profits used in South Africa – rose to 593.1 cents ($0.679) for the first half ended September, up from 462.66 cents ($0.052) in the corresponding period of last year.

Net income also experienced a significant increase reaching 655 million rand ($75 million), displaying 30 percent growth on last year’s equivalent figures.

Revenue numbers showed positive results, up 23 percent in the first half totaling 7.398 billion rand ($847 million).

The company pointed to strong sugar production and sales over the six months as the main driver behind the rise in profits, stating: “Total sugar sales volumes in the first six months of the 2012/13 year were 9 percent above the first half of last year, with higher sugar production levels, a larger crop and a drive to end the milling season earlier this year.”

On the back of current production figures, the company projects an overall growth in annual output of between 8 and 15 percent – following a similarly strong performance in output last year when production increased 14 percent by year-end, with sugar production totaling 1.15 million tonnes.

Tongaat Hulett – although primarily South Africa’s leading sugar producer – also deals in property, conducting land conversion and development activities.  The company reported significant land sales in the first half of the year ended September across the Cornubia Industrial and Umhlanga Ridge areas, and also reported the sale of 40 developable hectares.

The stock on Monday morning was trading at 133.15 rand ($0.15) in Johannesburg.


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