The KWV Group has posted a conservative 2c dividend for the year ended in June 2002, in spite of a 91.5% increase in headline earnings, which rose by R46.9m to R98.1m from R51.2m in 2001.

Attributable earnings rose to R81.3m, following a R4m loss the previous year.

Group MD, Willem Barnard, ascribed profit increases to cost containment and a 41% rise in KWV product sales, nearly all of which where exports.

The KWV Group is an unlisted public company. Its subsidiaries include the wholly owned KWV SA (Pty) Ltd and KWV International (Pty) Ltd, as well as 55.34% of the listed KWV Investments Ltd, which in turn holds 30% of Distell Limited.

Barnard praised the board's conservative approach regarding the low dividend. The group's financial commitment to the South African Wine Industry Trust and the company's continued need to grow, played a major role in this decision.

The decline of the Rand towards the end of last year was a double edged sword, which saw most companies, including KWV gaining on the export markets, but it also had to fight inflationary figures of between 30% and 40%.

Costs of bottles alone went up by 25% and 45% depending on the type of bottle, while other materials such as paper and carton were also high. In spite of this the company was only 5% over budget for the year.