Picture: JSE
Picture: JSE

Food producers Pioneer and Astral are expected to report improved profitability on Monday following years of drought, while Netcare will report how exiting India limited its losses outside of SA.

The rand strengthened over the weekend to hover at round numbers against three key foreign currencies: R14/$, R16/€ and R18/£.

The rand reached R13.97/$ in the early hours of Monday morning.

Asian markets were buoyed by reports that a forthcoming meeting of the Group of 20 (G20) nations in Argentina will result in a truce in the trade war between the US and China.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.41%, with Naspers’s main asset, Tencent, rising 0.48% to HK$291.80.

In Sydney, BHP was up 0.19% to A$32.42.

Netcare warned shareholders on Thursday that it expected to report a drop in headline earnings per share (HEPS) of up to 60% for the year to end-September. 

Barloworld said on November 5 that it expected to report on Monday that HEPS for the year to end-September grew by up to 40%.

Excluding its equipment division, Iberia, which was sold in July, HEPS from continuing operations grew by up to 23%.

“The group produced a strong result, particularly on the back of robust earnings growth in the equipment [division in] Russia and the turnaround of the logistics business,” Barloworld said in its trading update.

Pioneer Foods said on October 4 it that expected to report on Monday that HEPS grew by up to 42% for the year to end-September.

Poultry producer Astral said on October 24 that it expected to report on Monday that its HEPS for the year to end-September nearly doubled.

Astral said it benefited from feed prices coming down following the past few years’ droughts, but suffered from consumers having to cut back on chicken due to higher VAT and petrol prices.

“Although the results for the second half of 2018 are comparable with that of the second half of 2017, poultry sales volumes and selling prices came under pressure towards the end of the 2018 financial year due to a weakening in consumer demand,” Astral said in its trading statement.

“Increases in the fuel price and the VAT rate have had a negative impact on the consumer, with current trading conditions not as favourable as in the corresponding reporting period of the previous year.”

laingr@businesslive.co.za