Nampak profit misses estimates as SA economy slows

South Africa, the company’s biggest market, is forecast to see economic expansion of less than 1.5 percent this year, the slowest pace since 2009.

Nampak Ltd. (NPK), Africa’s biggest beverage can manufacturer, missed full-year sales and profit estimates as a sluggish South African economy countered benefits from operations in the rest of the continent.
Net income for the 12 months through September declined to 1.17 billion rand ($106.52 million), compared with a restated 1.3 billion rand a year ago, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a profit of 1.43 billion rand. Sales rose 10 percent to 20 billion rand, trailing the average estimate.
A five-month strike in the South African platinum industry followed by work stoppages in the metals and engineering industry have dampened prospects for the continent’s second-biggest economy. Nampak is increasing its exposure to the rest of Africa, which accounted for 30 percent of trading profit.
The average margin on trading profit in South Africa fell to 6.7 percent from 8.5 percent a year ago, Nampak Chief Executive Officer Andre De Ruyter said by phone. “It’s general margin pressure across all of our commodities. We had a challenging year in our glass business.”
Nampak also said it disposed of paper businesses for 1.6 billion rand. Ethos Private Equity Ltd., the buyer, will pay cash in a deal expected to be concluded in the second quarter of the current fiscal year.
“It’s a well-considered strategic decision,” De Ruyter said. “We are selling businesses in South Africa on which we earn an operating margin of between 2 percent and 4 percent. We seek to invest in opportunities that we have already identified in Africa where we can earn margins of 18 percent to 20 percent.”
During 2015, Nampak plans to finalize two deals in Africa and the company has a pipeline of five opportunities, De Ruyter said.