JSE-listed local pharmaceutical manufacturer Adcock Ingram, a subsidiary of the Bidvest group, said on Thursday a heavy focus on cost control ensured it eked out profit growth in its half-year to end-December, though it was battling rising costs.

Utility costs rose 11.4% during its half-year and labour costs 7%, with the company saying this was offset by an advantageous sales mix and “excellent” output at its manufacturing facilities.

Trading profit rose 1% to R490m, with the company declaring an interim dividend of 100c, unchanged from the prior comparative period.

The SA economic climate and consumer spending was still a concern, and margins were expected to be under pressure from cost increases, particularly labour, transport and utilities, said CEO Andrew Hall.

“To attempt to protect margins, the group has placed a heightened focus on driving productivity in the factories, continued strict cost control and expanding the group’s product portfolio, particularly in less regulated product classes,” he said.