Mondi First-Half Profit Gains 35% as Acquisitions Drive Growth

Mondi Ltd. (MND), a South African maker of paper and packaging, said first-half earnings rose 35 percent as acquisitions made toward the end of 2012 helped to offset the impact of sluggish economies.

Underlying operating profit for the six months through June advanced to 366 million euros ($488 million), compared with 272 million euros a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. Sales for the period rose to 3.34 billion euros from 2.82 billion euros, it said.

“A strong operating performance and benefits derived from our strategic acquisitions completed towards the end of the previous year have enabled Mondi to deliver record financial results despite what remains a challenging economic backdrop,” Mondi Chief Executive Officer David Hathorn said.

The company raised its half-year dividend by 7 percent to 9.55 euro cents a share.

Mondi’s earnings improved even after taking a special items charge of 68 million euros, resulting from restructuring plans in Europe and South Africa. The Johannesburg-based company is reducing its exposure to stagnant economies and expanding in developing markets such as Eastern Europe.

Mondi shares have gained 64 percent this year, the fourth-best performer of the 166-member FTSE/JSE Africa All-Share Index. (JALSH) The stock rose 1.4 percent to 151 rand at the close of trading yesterday, the highest since July 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Johannesburg at kbhuckory@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net

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