Distell's headline earnings have rocketed by 34.5% to ZAR482.2m (US$75.2m) for the year to 30 June, thanks to improved performance from all the company's assets.

This was attributed mainly to a 19.8% increase in trading income and a substantial reduction in financing costs, the Stellenbosch wine and spirits company announced today (17 August).

It represented a compound annual growth in headline earnings of 23.5% over the four years since the company was formed.

Profit before tax increased by 38.5% from ZAR485.8m to ZAR672.8m, with sales revenue reflecting an increase of 7% at ZAR6bn (ZAR5.6bn in 2004), while sales volumes increased by 1.8%.

With a final dividend of 67c a share, the total dividend for the year was 123c (97c in 2004).

Distell MD Jan Scannell attributed the increased trading income to improved sales revenue - with margins growing from 10.7% to 12%.