Kenyan battery firm Eveready swings into year profit

NAIROBI Thu Dec 6, 2012 2:44am EST

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NAIROBI Dec 6 (Reuters) - Kenyan dry cell battery maker Eveready said on Thursday cost cuts helped the group return to a pretax profit of 69 million shillings ($802,300) for the year to the end of September from a loss in the previous financial year.

The cost reductions led to a 4 percent improvement in its gross margin, while revenue was stable at 1.4 billion shillings.

A recovery in the Kenyan shilling against the dollar led to an unrealised gain of 50 million shillings that was partly offset by higher financing costs, Eveready said.

Listed in 2006, the firm's share price has declined from a peak of 28 shillings to just over 1 shilling each, after its earnings were hit by rising costs and counterfeits which affected demand.

The business still faces those challenges but management has devised plans to get the business back to growth, Eveready said, without offering further details.

The company did not recommend the payment of a dividend.

($1 = 86.0000 Kenyan shillings) (Reporting by Duncan Miriri. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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