Tongaat Hulett pushed up operating profit and headline earnings for the six months to September as revenue fell 4.5% during the period. Headline earnings of R661m were 4.8% better than the R631m reported in the six months to September 2016. Meanwhile, operating cash flow before working capital came to R2.447bn, rising from R2.317bn in the same period previously. Operating profit increased 9% to R1.47bn. "The sugar operations have seen the beginning of the production volume recovery after the drought conditions of the previous two years. "This benefit was offset by the impact of lower world sugar prices and a period of high imports into SA," CEO Peter Staude said on Monday. The group’s starch operations had experienced a carry-over effect into the first half of the year of maize costs at import parity prices, he said. This was a result of the previous season’s drought, concurrently with lower co-product revenue. But Tongaat Hulett had benefited from its portfolio approach, with land ...

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