Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Gases and welding products group African Oxygen (Afrox) on Thursday reported slower earnings growth in the year to end-December, partly due to a windfall in 2016 when ArcelorMittal paid Afrox R165m to settle a law suit.

Thus, headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the review period were up just 6% to R2.01. Adjusting for the litigation settlement, HEPS were up about 32%.

Group revenue was up a modest 2.8% to R5.7bn, partly mirroring low levels of economic growth.

Afrox makes the bulk of its income in SA‚ making its susceptible to the performance of the local economy.

It has also operations in other parts of Africa‚ including Malawi‚ Mozambique and Botswana.

Revenue from atmospheric gases rose 6%, after adjusting for the effect of the litigation settlement, driven by what it said were better volumes and price cost management.

Revenue from liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) rose 11% as volumes rose 10.4%, despite a decrease in market prices. The company said the continuation of its LPG import strategy proved effective.

The company declared a final dividend of 54c per share, which was marginally down from 56c a year ago.