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Italtile saw trading profit leap as turnover soared in the six months to December 2017, despite consumer sentiment in SA being "by and large down". "The longer-term story is definitely around the growth agenda," Italtile CEO Jan Potgieter said on Wednesday. The group would open more stores in SA and expand in East Africa and was exploring manufacturing prospects elsewhere in Africa, Potgieter said. The home-finishings group pushed turnover up 22% to R4.3bn in the six months ended December 2017 as trading profit shot up 21% to R716m. Headline earnings per share of 48.6c were up 5%, as net cash of R562m rocketed 209%. Italtile chief financial officer Brandon Wood said the results were affected by the acquisition of Ceramic Industries and a partially underwritten renounceable rights offer. But the buyout — which had also come with a majority stake in Ezee Tile Adhesives Manufacturing — would centralise warehousing and distribution across the group and "massive gains were to be made", W...

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