March 6, 2018 / 6:00 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Clover H1 profit up 19 pct on retail sales growth

(Adds detail on revenue growth, company statement)

JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Reuters) - South African dairy company Clover Industries said on Tuesday its first-half profit rose 19 percent, boosted by retail sales growth.

Diluted headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa which strips out certain one-off items, rose to 116.9 cents ($0.098) for the six months ended Dec. 31, 2017, compared with 98.3 cents for the same period last year.

Clover, which also processes yoghurt, beverages, custard and cheese, said launching other products such as olive oil and soya propelled its revenue growth.

“The higher-than-expected retail sales growth was derived from consumers taking advantage of Black Friday promotions,’ the firm said.

The company expects a recovery in milk and fruit production despite the after-effects of a prolonged drought exacerbated by the severe Western Cape drought.

South Africa has declared a national disaster in its southern and western regions including Cape Town, freeing extra funds to tackle the crisis. Cape Town faces “Day Zero” on July 9 when its taps could run dry.

The firm declared an interim dividend of 26.56 cents per share, compared with 24.21 cents per share a year ago.

$1 = 11.8309 rand Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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