Hudaco shares rallied nearly 8% in early trade on Friday, after the company posted an improvement in its financial performance and gave an upbeat assessment on its near-term outlook.

The small-cap company specialises in the importation and distribution of branded automotive, industrial and electrical consumable products, mainly in Southern Africa.

Headline earnings per share rose 5% to R12.22 in the year to November, from the year-earlier period, which was off the revenue of R5.5bn.

The consumer-related production division, which houses nine businesses, contributed 51% of sales and 61% of operating profit.

The engineering consumables division comprises 20 businesses and accounted for other 49% of sales and 39% of operating profit.

"This is a pleasing result given a decline of almost 20% at mid-year and the fact that there was neither a large communication contract nor a load-shedding boost in 2016," the company said in a statement.

The company said there were notable improvements in sectors in which it operated, which stood it in good stead in the new financial year. These included an improvement in commodity prices that boded well for mining and manufacturing activity.

Total dividend per share was unchanged at R5.25 while net cash generated from operations increased 51% to R749m.

The stock was up 7.53% to R122.60 in mid-morning trade on Friday, valuing the company at R4.18bn.

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