Pepkor, previously Steinhoff Africa Retail, said on Friday that its half-year earnings rose by up to 54.1%.

In the six months to end-March, headline earnings per share (HEPS) were between 34.1% and 54.1% higher than in the same period a year before, Pepkor said in a trading statement.

The group, whose brand’s include Pep, Ackermans, Incredible Connection and Timbercity, was a wholly owned subsidiary of Steinhoff until it was listed on the JSE in September 2017.

Pepkor said it plans to publish its interim results on May 29. Its shares rose 0.6% to R19.39 late on Friday morning, while Steinhoff’s were down 8.8% to R1.46, continuing a slide that started after the group’s long-delayed 2017 results showed it was in a precarious financial position.

Cratos Capital portfolio manager Ron Klipin said Pepkor’s “solid results” were driven by the affordability of its products in a weak consumer environment. “The results are a pleasant surprise in the current environment.”

The company’s shares could be set to gain versus peers such as Mr Price, Klipin said.

Even if Steinhoff became a forced seller of Pepkor’s shares, “the authorities would unlikely be amenable to let the funds be repatriated offshore” he said. “So a bookbuild could be on the cards in due course, which would be an opportunity to add to holdings.”