November 20, 2017 / 7:29 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Pioneer Food FY profit halves following drought

(Adds dividend)

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 20 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Pioneer Food Group reported a 49-percent drop in full-year profit due to high maize prices during the first part of the year following a severe drought.

Diluted and adjusted headline earnings per share (HEPS) fell to 415 cents for the year ended Sept. 30, from 820 cents in the same period last year.

HEPS is the main profit measure used in South Africa which strips out one-off items.

Pioneer, which uses maize is many of its food products, said its earnings were impacted by the constrained trading conditions and an unfavourable procurement position for the staple crop until May 2017 following the drought.

An El Nino-induced drought in southern Africa crippled production of maize, sugar and other agricultural products.

The company declared a gross final dividend of 260 cents, equal to that of the prior year. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri and Andrew Heavens)

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