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Retailer Italtile’s R3.5bn acquisition of manufacturer Ceramic Industries boosted its interim turnover by 36% to R2.8bn for the six months to end-December. Its after-tax profit, however, grew just 8% to R534m, according to its results, released on Wednesday. The Ceramic deal resulted in Italtile’s shares in issue increasing 28% to 1.3-billion. Following this dilution, headline earnings per share (HEPS) grew 5% to 48.6c. Italtile declared a 17c interim dividend, 6% higher than 16c in the matching period. The tile and bathware retailer, whose brands include CTM, Italtile Retail and TopT ended the reporting period with 174 stores, up from 156 at the end of 2016. Like-on-like retail store turnover for the period fell 3.9% compared to the prior corresponding period, with average selling price deflation estimated at 1%. "One out of every two tiles, baths and toilets purchased in SA is made by Ceramic, hence this operation has significant strategic advantage for the group," the results sta...

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