Amalgamated Beverage Industries Ltd (ABI), a subsidiary of South African Breweries (SAB), announced what it described as "a satisfactory set of results" despite seeing an improvement in sales volumes of only 0.5%.

Sales volumes ended the year at 10.97m hectolitres, an improvement of 0.5% on the volumes achieved in the prior year. The decline in volumes of 3% to 4.47m hectolitres at the interim reporting stage was reversed, said the company with growth of 3% in the second half.

Attributable earnings grew by 23% whilst headline earnings, after adding back the amortisation of goodwill, increased by 17%.

Commenting on the results ABI said: "Trading conditions are likely to remain difficult in the coming year. However, management efforts to stimulate the market are expected to improve volumes in both carbonated soft drinks as well as our other beverage categories.

"Accordingly further earnings growth is expected and this will be aided by the ongoing implementation of productivity initiatives."

Input cost containment and the delivery of productivity in the post-merger ABI resulted in an increase in the trading margin and the company reported an improvement in margin and delivered growth in trading profit of 28%.

Payable out of profits (as determined by the directors) the company declared a final dividend of 116.5 cents per share. Together with the interim dividend of 27.5 cents, the total annual dividend of 144.0 cents per share is 17% higher than last year, in line with the headline earnings per share increase.