South Africa’s Nampak posts 11% revenue growth despite currency losses

South Africa-based Nampak, maker of glass bottles, metal cans and a range of cardboard boxes for the beverage industry among others, said on Monday that full-year results ending 30th September 2016 was positive, with revenue rising 11% to R19.1bn ($1.4bn) and group trading profit up 4% to R1.9bn ($139m).

The performance was due to the turnaround at Glass, good trading in Nigeria and Zimbabwe, volume increases from new customers and benefits from operational improvements that resulted in improved efficiencies and cost savings. The group-wide comprehensive performance improvement plan is delivering good results,” said Nampak CEO, André de Ruyter.

However, the company faced challenging macroeconomic conditions in key African markets such as Nigeria and Angola where its first-half headline earnings per share (HEPS) dropped 48% due to foreign exchange losses of R681m ($50m) in both countries. Nigeria saw 58% devaluation in its currency over the period, while the Angolan kwanza depreciated 23%. Going forward, the company said it has managed to mitigate further currency losses in Nigeria and Angola by hedging 50% (R990m) of its R2bn ($146m) cash holdings in those countries.

[The results were] operationally positive, however, as the turnaround efforts are now becoming more tangible, and with some hedging in place and devaluation in Nigeria unlikely to be as severe in financial 2017, the base effects of this year should support an improved outlook going forward,” CEO Andre de Ruyter said.

Andre de Ruyter

Andre de Ruyter, CEO Nampak

He added that the cash extraction rate in Nigeria and Angola has improved to 77%, from 59% in 2015. Nampak noted that it took an asset write-down of R355m – R370m, which is related mainly to a planned conversion of its Angolan tinplate beverage can line to aluminum.

Despite the losses, trading conditions in Nigeria and Zimbabwe remained resilient, with the company seeing 38% volume increase from new customers in its Nigerian operation and benefits from operational improvements. Nampak said that its Angolan business declined 5%.

In its South African home market, revenue rose 3% year-on-year, outstripping GDP growth rate. It was able to improve profitability by employing greater efficiency which involved taking out cost through investing in new equipment. The company was able to turn around its loss making glass business from –R81m last year to R105m profit in the period under review. The company thinks there is still room for improvement in the glass category as it targets the wine sector, which it believes holds great promise as an export destination.

De Ruyter stressed that the current challenges do not fundamentally change Nampak’s overall long-term investment rationale. Through prudent consideration of growth projects, Nampak continues to focus on strengthening its position in the key growth markets of Nigeria, Angola and Ethiopia. The Rest of Africa now contributes 52% to group trading profit.

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