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Steinhoff Says Profit Rises 11% as Retail Operations Improve

March 5 (Bloomberg) -- Steinhoff International Holdings Ltd., a South African furniture maker dependent on Europe for more than half its revenue, said six-month earnings rose 11 percent as the group gained market share.

Net income rose to 3.24 billion rand ($358 million) from 2.91 billion rand a year ago, the company said in a statement today. Basic earnings per share increased to 173.9 cents from 165.5 cents a year earlier. Sales jumped 52 percent to 57.3 billion rand from 37.6 billion rand.

“It is a solid set of results,” Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste said in a phone interview from Johannesburg. “Second-half will be slightly better than the first. I expect dividend to grow” in the same trend as profits, he said.

The stock gained 1.9%, the biggest increase since Feb. 6, to 26.49 rand at the close in Johannesburg.

Steinhoff owns Conforoma Holdings SA, France’s second-largest furniture retailer. For the first half-through December, the company’s growth in Europe, led by retail, has outperformed the recession in the continent. Africa’s biggest furniture maker also has a controlling stake in KAP Industrial Holdings Ltd. and JD Group Ltd., two companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

“Our enlarged business in Europe is certainly producing benefits and this, coupled with continued investments in infrastructure, has helped to improve margins for the group,” Jooste said said in a separate e-mailed statement.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

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