South Africa’s African Oxygen profit rises on LPG, gases boost

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JOHANNESBURG – South African industrial gas supplier African Oxygen (Afrox) reported a 10 percent increase in half-year profit on Monday boosted by volume growth from its liquefied petroleum gas, healthcare and bulk industrial gases products.

Diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose to 102.8 cents per share for the six months ended June 30, from 93.3 cents a year earlier.

HEPS is the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out once-off items.

Revenue for Afrox’s atmospheric gases division rose 2.7 percent to 1.162 billion rand ($76.2 million) while its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) revenue climbed 10.6 percent to 1.047 billion rand.

Reduced business activity in the South African mining sector and a slowdown in the manufacturing industry weighed on revenue from its hard goods business or non-gas products, which fell 3.2 percent to 330 million rand.

Afrox, which operates in 10 African countries and manages the Linde Group business in five others, supplies welding and gas products, including those used in the healthcare, mining and hospitality industries.

The company declared an interim dividend of 52 cents per share, compared with 46 cents per share a year earlier.  (Reuters)