Afrox says it has made up a lot of ground in financial 2017 after a legacy legal settlement with SA’s largest steel producer, ArcelorMittal SA, saw a net R161m injected into the group. Chasing "pockets of growth in a difficult environment" after an exceedingly tough financial 2016, the gases group pushed revenue up 2.8% to R5.7bn in the year to December 2017. This came from improved volumes in its atmospheric gases and liquid petroleum gas segments. It also came amid price recovery of inflationary costs across the company’s four businesses. These include welding and gas equipment products, and markets in other parts of Africa. This was achieved despite the continued weakness of the South African economy, the group said on Thursday. "Windows are opening now — the turnaround is here to stay," Afrox MD Schalk Venter said. The group had undergone a major restructuring in the past two-and-a-half years, laying off about 700 people — or 20% of staff in 2015 — in order to save R460m in cost...

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