Afrimat CEO Andries van Heerden says the economic slowdown has been hard on the company’s construction-materials business. Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF
Afrimat CEO Andries van Heerden says the economic slowdown has been hard on the company’s construction-materials business. Picture: RUVAN BOSHOFF

Building materials supplier Afrimat says earnings rose 29.6% in the year to end-February, thanks in part to higher iron ore prices.

Group revenue rose 24.6% to R3bn, while headline earnings per share grew 29.6% to 234.1c, the group said on Thursday.

“Afrimat’s entry into bulk commodities two years ago proved to be well-timed, contributing handsomely to the sustained earnings growth.

“Healthy international iron ore prices turned the recently acquired Demaneng iron ore mine into a star performer,” the group said.

This helped offset a difficult period for the construction-materials division.

“Our construction-materials segment felt the brunt of the slowdown in economic activity, with the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng businesses being impacted the most,” said Afrimat CEO Andries van Heerden.

Afrimat said net cash from operating activities increased by 46.4% to R410.5m, allowing it to reduce its net debt-to-equity ratio to 23.8% from 35.5%.

The company said it would pay a final dividend of 62c a share, versus 42c a year before. Total dividends for the year amounted to 81c per share, from 62c previously.

Afrimat said in April it had made an offer to buy Australia-listed Universal Coal. It would pay up to A$0.40 per Universal share.

A due-diligence process is under way, Afrimat said.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za