Sin taxes took the wind out of Distell’s profits in financial 2018 as the liquor group behind big-name brands such as Savanna cider, Nederburg wine and Amarula liqueur battled with another hefty hike in excise duty. Excise as a percentage of sales was 26.4% in the year to June 2018, a staggering increase from the 16.8% Distell had to pay in 2001. The higher excise charge and one-off exceptional costs at an associate company in Tanzania were the major factors behind a 5.6% drop in earnings to 667.5c a share from 707.3c. Distell, which was relisted at the end of May at R130, reported a strong 10.4% increase in sales with volume growth in all three reporting regions — SA, Africa and international. Revenue grew 10.4% to R24bn and operating profit edged up 1.8% to R2.4bn. The share price closed 1.47% weaker on Friday at R121.90. In Africa, where the group boosted its exposure through investment in Best Global Brands, exceptional performances were recorded in Botswana, Kenya, Zambia and Z...

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