Nampak Says Profit Gains on Africa Drinks-Can Growth

Nampak Ltd., a South African maker of packaging and beverage cans, said full-year earnings gained 7 percent after the company expanded operations in fast-growing African economies.

Profit rose to 1.29 billion rand ($127 million) in the year through September from 1.21 billion a year earlier, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. The improvement was largely the result of a 60 percent profit gain from Africa outside its domestic market, it said.

Nampak shares traded 5.2 percent higher at 32.40 rand at the close of trading in Johannesburg, the biggest gain in almost five months. About 5.9 million shares traded, or more than five times the three-month daily average.

Nampak said Nov. 18 it would expand its beverage container plant in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer Angola, responsible for much of the growth on the continent, and buy a Nigerian drinks-can manufacturer for $301 million.

The company also signed an option to purchase a plastics manufacturer in the west African country, which it plans to take up in 12 to 18 months, Chief Executive Officer Andrew Marshall said in a phone interview. The company doesn’t see significant acquisition opportunities beyond that, he said.

Trading profit in South Africa decreased by 15 percent and the margin declined to 8.4 percent from 10.5 percent, Nampak said. This was partly because of lower selling prices agreed to secure long-term supply contracts in the metals and glass businesses, as well as lower demand for food cans and glass bottles.

Nampak raised its final dividend by 10 percent to 98 cents per share, bringing the total to 140 cents for the year.

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