August 21, 2013 / 12:07 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Distell earnings up on sub-Saharan drinks demand

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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 21 (Reuters) - South African drinks company Distell Group reported a 10 percent increase in full-year profit on Wednesday, boosted by strong sub-Saharan sales and a weaker rand currency.

Distell, whose brands include Amarula liqueur, Two Oceans wines and Savanna cider, said diluted headline earnings totaled 491.4 cents per share in the year to end-June, from 447.8 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS, the main measure of profit in South Africa, excludes some one-time items.

Revenue rose by 12 percent to 15.9 billion rand ($1.6 billion).

While revenue in South Africa decreased by nearly 9 percent, Distell said revenue in international markets, including Africa, rose by 23 percent, helped in part by the weaker rand currency .

Sub-Saharan markets outside of South Africa contributed nearly 56 percent of foreign revenue, the company said.

South African companies are increasingly looking to fast-growing African markets to offset sluggish performance at home, where consumers are hamstrung by high debt levels and sluggish economic growth.

Shoprite Holdings, Africa’s largest grocer, said on Wednesday it would ramp up its expansion across the continent with 47 new supermarkets, as its core South African consumer base continues to struggle.

Shares of Distell are up 16 percent this year, outperforming a 9 percent rise in Johannesburg’s All-Share index.

The shares were flat at 123.21 rand at 1154 GMT. The All-Share index was also flat. ($1 = 10.1540 South African rand) (Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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