Imperial Holdings Earnings Beat Estimates as Africa Sales Grow

Imperial Holdings Ltd. (IPL), owner of South Africa’s biggest car-dealer network, said full-year earnings climbed 15 percent as sales at its automotive and logistics units grew across the continent.

Headline earnings per share, which exclude one-time items, advanced to 18.04 rand in the 12 months through June, the Johannesburg-based company said in statement today. That beat the 16.88 rand median estimate of nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales rose 14 percent to 92.4 billion rand ($9.11 billion), in line with the forecast by analysts.

“Our portfolio of businesses proved to be resilient despite challenging trading conditions in South Africa,” Imperial’s Chief Executive Officer Hubert Brody said in an e-mailed statement. The company’s shares advanced 4.1 percent, the biggest intraday gain since July 11, by 4:35 p.m. in Johannesburg.

Imperial, which imports and distributes vehicles from Korean makers Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) and Kia Motors Corp. (000270), is grappling with an economic slowdown in South Africa. The rand has weakened 16 percent this year, the worst performer of 16 major currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

“We anticipate tougher trading conditions in the new motor vehicle market during the year ahead,” the company said. “Reduced disposable income, a weaker currency and the high base created by strong volume gains in the last four years all present headwinds for growth.”

Imperial operating profit from Africa excluding its home market advanced 33 percent to 397 million rand. Imperial raised its final dividend 16 percent to 440 cents per share.

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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