Distell to boost wine production in Nigeria, Ghana

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By Alex C

Distell Group Limited, a South African wine maker, says it will focus on adding production and distribution in countries such as Nigeria and Ghana to “withstand steep taxes and other costs, as sales slowed in the second half.”

Distell put most of its 691.8 million rand in capital expenditure in the year into increasing local production capacity in the continent outside its domestic market.

Distell’s second-half sales growth halved to about 2 percent by volume, compared with the first six months of the fiscal year, Richard Rushton, the managing director of South Africa’s biggest wine and spirits producer, said.

“The outlook for trading remains challenging in South Africa,” Rushton said. “There’s not much cause for a change in view at this point.”

The slowdown in the second half ended June 30, held back full-year volume expansion to 3.1 percent as drinkers cut back on discretionary spending in the company’s home market.

The sold volume of Distell’s wine brands such as Nederburg showed better growth in the second half, while sales of brandy such as Klipdrift “pulled back performance,” he said. The company is trying to boost whiskey sales to offset this decline.

Distell is valued at $2,8 billion (29.8 billion rand). Full-year operating profit increased 23 percent to 2.2 billion rand, the Cape-Town-based company said in a statement. Revenue grew 13 percent to 17.7 billion rand, while the total dividend was little changed at 3.37 rand per share.

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