Local food producers Rhodes and Pioneer have warned that the effects of the severe drought could continue to be felt in 2017, which would put a strain on their interim earnings. Pioneer reported a 6% rise in full-year adjusted headline earnings per share to R8.83 in the year to end-September and a 12% increase in revenue from continuing operations to R20.60bn compared with the year-earlier period. The essential foods division, which accounts for about 60% of the company’s revenue, reported a 2% contraction in profit to R1.24bn. Pioneer said the contraction was largely due to the significant raw material inflation on maize, wheat duty structure, drought and the rand-to-dollar exchange rate volatility. CEO Phil Roux said while the essential foods division had delivered a creditable performance under the circumstances, the effects of the drought were still of concern. "I’m too nervous to forecast the weather. But as the brand leader of the maize category through White Star, we have an ...

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