Rhodes Food Group CEO, Bruce Henderson. Picture: SUPPLIED
Rhodes Food Group CEO, Bruce Henderson. Picture: SUPPLIED

Rhodes Food Group said on Wednesday turnover in the five months to end-February rose 8%.

Sales in SA and the rest of Africa were up 8.2% “despite the continued challenging trading environment”, the group said. This was partly thanks to better sales of fruit juices, dry foods and meats.

“The group’s brands have gained or maintained market share across core product categories,” it said.

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Fresh foods sales rose 1.4% with no volume growth, while the turnaround of Ma Baker, the KwaZulu-Natal-based pie producer, “has continued and the business has contributed positively for the five-month period”.

But Rhodes Food Group said margins in the region had been hurt by low-selling price increases, higher depreciation charges and substantial once-off costs from the relocation of the pulps and purees plant from Wellington to Groot Drakenstein.

Meanwhile, turnover from outside Africa increased 6.7% in the period, with volume growth of 4.5%.

Margins from those operations are improving, thanks in part to the weaker rand.

But profitability had been affected by cost and quality issues linked to the drought in the Western Cape, which resulted in canned fruit, mainly peaches, being sold at low prices on the international market.

The group said its results for the six months ending March would be released on or about May 21.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za