JOHANNESBURG Nov 29 South African chemicals and
fertiliser maker Omnia Holdings reported a 25 percent
drop in half-year profit on Tuesday hit by slack demand for some
core products due to drought and weak economic growth.
Omnia, which makes fertilizers, mining explosives and
chemicals used in manufacturing, said headline earnings per
share (EPS) came in at 371 South African cents in the six months
ended September, compared with 494 cents a year earlier.
Headline EPS is the main profit measure used in South Africa
that strips out certain one-off times.
Omnia also cut its interim dividend payout by 11 percent to
160 cents per share. Its shares tumbled 3.6 percent to 152.67
rand as of 0903 GMT.
"We have had an immense drought for the last 18 months so
clearly the farmers are a bit more conservative waiting for the
rain," Omnia Chief Executive Officer Rod Humphris told Reuters.
An El Nino weather pattern, which ended in May, triggered
drought conditions across the southern African region, hitting
the staple, maize, and other crops and denting demand for
Omnia's first-half revenue rose 2.5 percent to 7.9 billion
rand ($566 million) as a strong showing in its mining explosives
unit offset declining sales in its chemicals and agriculture
($1 = 13.9560 rand)
(Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Susan Fenton)