Peter Staude, CEO of Tongaat Hulett.
Peter Staude, CEO of Tongaat Hulett.

Tongaat Hulett’s shares slumped almost 12% in early trade on Friday as the listed agriculture and agri-processing group reported disappointing interim results in which operating profit fell by 64%.

The sharp fall in profit represents worsening performance since the end of the 2017-2018 financial year in which the company reported decreases in headline earnings (37.2%) and operating profit (16.1%).

The KwaZulu-Natal-based company attributed the drop in operating profit from the previous R1.5bn to R530m to its failure to conclude land transactions within the first six months of its financial year.

“Furthermore, local market conditions in the South African and Mozambique sugar operations negatively impacted on both revenue and cane valuations which reduced operating profit,” Tongaat said.

The company reported a headline loss of R87m compared to headline earnings of R661m in the same period last year. Headline loss per share was 74c, a reduction of 113%. Tongaat’s loss per share was 94c, a reduction of 115%, compared to the same period last year. 

The company did not declare an interim dividend.