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Illovo Sugar Profit Jumps 29% as Output, Sales Volumes Climb

Illovo Sugar Ltd., Africa’s largest sugar producer, said fiscal first-half profit rose 29 percent as higher rainfall boosted output and as sales increased.

Net income climbed to 777.7 million rand ($87 million) in the six months through September from 604.1 million rand a year earlier, the Mt. Edgecombe, South Africa-based company said today in a statement. Sugar output expanded 17 percent and sales volumes added almost 10 percent, it said.

Harvests have recovered as heavier rains during the season boosted yields after a drought in 2011 reduced output in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Mpumalanga provinces.

“This pleasing performance is on the back of an anticipated group cane-production record for the season with a notable recovery in South Africa following excellent rainfall,” Managing Director Graham Clark said in the statement.

Illovo fell 1.8 percent to 30.20 rand by the close in Johannesburg, reversing an earlier 3.5 percent gain.

Milling has improved in South Africa, Swaziland, Malawi and Zambia after the company invested in increasing efficiency at its factories, Clark said in an interview. Illovo is looking to add a project or acquisition to expand capacity and has “a number under consideration,” he said, without elaborating.

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