JOHANNESBURG, Feb 20 (Reuters) - South African food producer Bid Corporation Ltd (Bidcorp) reported on Wednesday a 9.2 percent increase in half-year earnings, supported by positive trading performance in its developed markets.
Bidcorp, which operates in Europe, United Kingdom, Australasia and emerging markets, posted headline earnings per share (HEPS) from continuing operations of 700.2 cents in the six months ended Dec. 31, compared with 641 cents a year earlier.
HEPS is the most widely watched profit gauge in South Africa and strips out certain one-off items.
Bidcorp, which supplies hotels, restaurants and industrial caterers, said its net revenue rose 9.1 percent to 66.4 billion rand ($4.73 billion).
Europe continued to be the stand-out performer for the food producer group, with most businesses delivering upbeat sales growth and solid trading results.
“Eastern European jurisdictions continue to show record revenue growth, in spite of significant wage pressures throughout the region,” the group said in a statement.
The company’s strategy to move away from their low-margin customers in Australasia helped lift trading profit by 4.7 percent to 980.9 million rand in that region.
The company is experiencing difficulties in South Africa and China, where recovery by the processed-meat sector after last year’s listeriosis crisis seemed to be slow.
Meanwhile, margins in Greater China slipped and profit dropped as expenses increased significantly after the firm expanded its product offering following the loss of its cornerstone dairy products’ agency.
$1 = 14.0321 rand Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Sherry Jacob-Phillips