AECI chief executive Mark Dytor. Photo.Supplied.
AECI chief executive Mark Dytor. Photo.Supplied.

AECI raises interim dividend payout by 80%

By Edward West Time of article published Jul 29, 2021

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CHEMICAL group AECI’s profit from operations increased 70 percent to R948 million in the six months to June 30 after it proved resilient through the Covid-19-related effects on its many markets around the world, chief executive Mark Dytor said yesterday.

This followed a 5 percent rise in revenue to R11.8 billion. Foreign and export revenue made up 43 percent of total revenue. Headline earnings per share was up 120 percent to R5.29. Gearing fell to 27 percent from 32 percent.

Dytor said the group benefited from the diversity of the sectors in which it operates: water, agriculture, mining and infrastructure, while benefits of restructuring also began to make itself felt.

He said that although management was much more “upbeat than at the same time last year”, there were still challenges: uncertainty about the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic in different countries and supply chain problems such as delays in shipping, containers and raw materials.

Dytor said high commodity prices had resulted in investment in mining in some countries in West and Central Africa.

“Our focus is on cash management, and we have few exciting projects in the next 12 months,” he said.

Earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation were up 23 percent to R1.45bn in the interim period. An interim cash dividend of 180 cents was declared, 80 percent higher than the same period last year.

“Our results demonstrated the benefits of our diversity, agility and our strategic pillar structure.

“As the world recovered from the initial wave of infection, the trading environment began to normalise in the second six months of last year. This continued into 2021, albeit that the recovery has not occurred at the same rate internationally and across all sectors of activity.”

Dytor said that although the US and Chinese economies were growing strongly, other regions such as Europe and countries such a South Africa were lagging.

Net asset value a share decreased by 9 percent to R95.56 from R105.37c at June 30 last year.

All group businesses were operational in the half-year, unlike in 2020 when restrictions associated with mitigating the spread of the coronavirus required some of the businesses and customers to scale back their activities.

In the corresponding period, management estimated the impact of the pandemic on revenue and profit from operations was R1.02bn and R454m, respectively. The negative effect on headline earnings was estimated at 294c a share.

AECI’s share price rose 4.1 percent to R100.09 yesterday afternoon.

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BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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