Today in business: Cashbuild doubles profit – Business Insider South Africa

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March 2

Cashbuild, southern Africa’s largest retailer of building materials, doubled its headline profit over the past six months, with revenue up 21% to R6.7 billion. South Africa has seen a spike in DIY and home improvement during lockdown, as consumers work from home.

Spur’s half-year revenue dropped more than 40%, while headline profit was down 75%,

Group alcohol sales were 39% lower due to the ban on sale of all alcoholic drinks for part of the period.

Sales for the months of September and November 2020 declined by 26.2% and 21.0% respectively in South Africa relative to the prior year, with October 2020 being a particularly strong trading month in South Africa, trading behind the prior year by only 7.2%.

New lockdown restrictions in December and January hit sales – but Spur says trading showed a marked improvement in February 2021, thanks to longer trading hours as the curfew was extended. Sales for February 2021 were at 82% of the prior year, with Spur and RocoMamas being the strongest performing brands.

The construction group WBHO saw its headline profit slump by more than 80% over the past six months, with revenue down by 11% to R20.4 billion. SA revenue was down 12% and in Australia, income slumped 27% due to lockdown restrictions in Melbourne. But in the rest of Africa there was a 24% increase in revenue, largely due to strong activity in Mozambique.

March 1

Public sector unions have demanded a CPI plus 4% increase in wage negotiations – while government is proposing a wage freeze for the next three years. Fin24 reports that they are also taking government to the Constitutional Court as they want government to honour the 2018 three-year wage agreement for CPI plus 1% increases. Government did not pay the increase last year.

New car sales fell by more than 13% in February compared to a year ago, after a similar contraction in January. But vehicle exports for the first two months of the year were ahead of the same period in 2020, Naamsa reports.

Steinhoff is offering to pay R17 billion to claimants in more than 90 separate lawsuits in South Africa, Germany and the Netherlands stemming from the collapse of its share price. Under the scheme, some of these parties will receive about 5.5% of their claims.

Sea Harvest has seen its revenue for the past year grow by 10% to R4.4 billion, with headline earnings up 3%. The group benefited from good performances from its South African fishing unit, its Cape Harvest Foods segment (which includes Ladismith Cheese) and the Australian operations.

 

Gold saw its worst month since November 2016, falling 6% in February. The precious metal has fallen out of favour as investors become more optimistic about global growth, and as US government bond yields spike, which means that gold is less appealing as it doesn’t offer interest payments. It was last trading at $1,735/oz.

The rand is still weak, at R15.00/$ this morning.

The corporate services company Bidvest posted half-year headline profit growth of 6%, thanks in part to a strong performance from its newly acquired hygiene service provider in the UK, PHS. The group’s interim dividend was hiked by 3%.

Bidvest says 95% of its employees have been able to return to work – “a massive shift from the approximately 75% of employees that were unable to work during the height of the lockdown in 2020”.

Hyprop, which owns Hyde Park Corner, Rosebank Mall, Canal Walk, Cape Gate and other properties, has seen its headline profit slump from 329.9c in the six months to end December 2019, to only 114.6c in the same period in 2020. The company warns that a third Covid-19 wave remains a risk, “as do the long-term effects of the pandemic on an underperforming local economy”. It expects an increase in rent reductions, and a rise in costs – especially for municipal and utility charges.

RCL Foods – which owns brands like 5 Star maize meal, Bobtail, Rainbow and Farmer Brown – has seen its half-year revenue up 10.5% to R15.7, while headline profit jumped 12%. The company said sugar sales picked up, while baking delivered a “substantial improvement”, underpinned by strong demand and a turnaround at the Gauteng bakeries. But lockdown restrictions continued to have a negative impact on pie sales.

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