* Headline EPS at 818.3 cents vs 786.5 cents
* Sales at 14 billion rand vs 11.6 billion rand
JOHANNESBURG, May 30 (Reuters) - Africa’s biggest consumer foods group, Tiger Brands, barely increased first-half profit as debt-laden consumers cut back on spending, while higher input costs and tougher competition hit margins.
South Africa-based Tiger Brands, which makes bread, breakfast cereal and energy drinks, said headline earnings per share totalled 818.3 cents in the six months to end-March, up 4 percent from 786.5 cents a year earlier.
Headline EPS, South Africa’s most widely used profit gauge, strips out some one-off items.
Tiger Brands products are facing tough competition as international companies such Procter & Gamble bulk up their presence across Africa and grocers launch more cut-price private label products.
The company, which makes about 16 percent its sales outside its home market, said revenue rose 20 percent to 14 billion rand ($1.43 billion), helped in part by favourable currency swings and contribution from an acquisition.
Tiger Brands is among the worst performing stocks on the JSE this year, reflecting growing concerns about personal debt levels and rising unemployment in Africa’s biggest economy.
Its shares are down about 10 percent this year, underperforming a 5 percent rise in Johannesburg’s All-share index. ($1 = 9.7870 South African rand) (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; editing by David Dolan)