Italtile H1 basic EPS rises 19 per cent

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This is compared to R1, 05 billion reported in 2012.

This was significantly impacted by the conversion and contribution of nine previously franchised CTM stores to Group-owned stores during the period, and the opening of one new CTM.

Italtile said that excluding the contribution from these ten stores, turnover from comparable Group-owned stores and entities increased by 15 per cent.

The company reported a basic earnings per share (“EPS”) increase of 19 per cent to 28,6 cents per share compared 23,9 in 2012, while headline earnings per share (“HEPS”) grew 16 per cent to 28 cents per share compared to 24 per cent in 2012.

Reported trading profit rose 22 per cent to R379 million compared to R311 million in 2012.

“The Group’s achieved gross margins remained relatively constant due to containment of sales related costs, improvement in the sales mix, and despite cost pressures in the supply chain which were largely absorbed to support price competitiveness of the retail operations. Average selling prices were inflation-linked,” the company said in a statement.

Inventory increased to R449 million due to the increase in company owned CTMs and higher stock holdings at the Group’s two Distribution Centres and Cedar Point business – a deliberate strategy to promote an expanded merchandise range and support customer demand for always-in-stock product.

The increase is also a function of anticipating supply delays while Chinese markets remain closed over that country’s New Year celebrations. Management is satisfied that the stock on hand is current and saleable, and that levels should be reduced by year end

Capital expenditure of R102 million was incurred (2012: R95 million) largely aimed at enhancing the Group’s global property investment portfolio and revamping store shop fittings and signage.

The Group has maintained its dividend cover of three times. The Board has declared an interim gross cash dividend of 9 cents per share compared to 8 cents in 2012, a 13 per cent increase.

The Board declared an interim gross cash dividend of 9 cents per ordinary share to all shareholders.