• Half-year net profits jump by 23% to ZAR1.07bn (US$98.2m)
  • Sales in six months to end of December climb by 15.1% to ZAR9.95bn
  • Operating profits also leap, by 27.2% to ZAR1.54bn
  • Group volumes increase by 5.5%
Distell reported its half-year numbers late last week

Distell reported its half-year numbers late last week

Distell has toasted its international division for driving a strong performance in the first six months of its fiscal year.

The South African group said late last week that net profits in the six months to the end of December increased by 23% year-on-year to ZAR1.07bn (US$98.2m), on the back of a 15.1% rise in sales, which totalled ZAR9.95bn. Operating profits in the half-year jumped by 27.2% to ZAR1.54bn.

While sales in the company's domestic market were up by 5.2% in value terms, it was Distell's international operations that performed particularly well in the period: Sales values abroad soared by 48.9%, totalling ZAR2.94bn.

Total volumes for the group were up in the six-month period, by 5.5%.

The figures included the results from Burn Stewart Distillers, which Distell acquired for $244m in April last year.

The company flagged "a challenging economic environment, which continued to curtail consumer demand" in South Africa.

"Distell's cider and RTD brands continued their strong performance," the company said. "The spirits portfolio showed a volume decline, mostly as a result of the depressed performance of the brandy category. Sales volumes of the wine portfolio declined marginally."

The international performance, meanwhile, was boosted by "a weaker rand and the addition of the Burn Stewart brand portfolio. Ciders and RTDs once again delivered strong volume growth," the company added. "The wine and spirits portfolios delivered growth of 6.4% and 54% respectively."

Looking forward, Distell said: "We believe challenging trading conditions in many of our markets will persist for the remainder of the year. However, the strength, appeal and diversity of our brands, our enhanced capacity to trade across a spectrum of markets and the security of our financial position will allow us to continue pursuing our strategic course successfully."

To read the company's official statement, click here.