S.Africa's Barloworld sees drop in H1 earnings as pandemic hits demand

JOHANNESBURG, June 30 (Reuters) - South Africa’s Barloworld Ltd, said on Tuesday its interim earnings would fall by 32%, weighed down by constrained consumer demand and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across its markets.

Normalised headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the six months ended March 31 were 354.0 cents per share compared with 521.4 cents during the same period a year ago.

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

Barloworld, which sells construction, mining and industrial machinery and also has a car sales and rental business, said that low business confidence and weak consumer demand in 2019 continued into the first part of the financial year.

The company said trade restrictions, lockdowns, travel and restrictions due to the pandemic further impacted trading from March.

“During this period, the Group produced a result that reflected the difficult trading environment and the challenges faced by our businesses,” Barloworld chief executive officer Dominic Sewela said in a statement.

Revenue for the period is expected to decline by 12% to 25.2 billion rand. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg, editing by Louise Heavens)