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AVI Hits Record High on Increased Profit: Johannesburg Mover

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- AVI Ltd. closed at its highest in at least 21 years after South Africa’s second-largest consumer-goods company by market value said first-half profit is expected to be higher than previously estimated.

The stock advanced as much as 4 percent to 41.59 rand and closed at 41.50 rand in Johannesburg, its highest since at least August 1990, when Bloomberg started compiling the data.

Per-share earnings from continuing operations increased 36 percent to 195.1 cents in the six months through December, the company said in a trading statement today. That’s higher than the 22 percent to 32 percent advance the group estimated in a Dec. 13 update. Earnings excluding one-time items climbed 32 percent to 194.4 cents, it said.

“What it tells me is that they had a very good December period,” Jiten Bechoo, an analyst at Cape Town-based Avior Research Pty Ltd., who has a “buy” recommendation and a price estimate of 50.89 rand for the stock, said by phone. “There is some seasonality, but over and above that it was driven by the fashion division, which includes personal care and footwear and apparel.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Gunnion in Johannesburg at sgunnion@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Gavin Serkin at gserkin@bloomberg.net

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