Distell has posted a rise in H2 headline earnings. The wine and spirits producer said today (17 February) that headline earnings for the six months to 31 December were up by 32.4% to ZAR293.6m (US$49.3m).

Sales volumes were up by 1.8% year-on-year, hitting 176.9m litres for the period, with sales revenue rising by 7.3% to ZAR3.4bn.

The interim dividend per share rose by 21.7% to 56c on headline earnings of 149.4c per share.

Domestic sales volumes grew by 0.9%, reflecting favourable sales mix, with the volumes in the spirits category growing 3.2%. Wine sales for the first six months fell, however, by 2.2%.

RTD's recovered some of the losses, growing 3.1% after declining 4.1% for the same period in 2003.

While exports to destinations outside Africa rose by 7.2%, they were offset by a 6.1% improvement in the value of the Rand, which resulted in sales revenue declining by 1.6%. Sales revenue from exports to the rest of Africa rose 7%.

While the company had kept operating expenses under control at 6.3%, it had maintained its market presence with an increase of 17% ad spend.

Distell curbed its capital expenditure down to R32.8m compared with R95.9m in 2003.

Distell's MD, Jan Scannell, warned, however, that the second half of the financial year would slow down.