Picture: THINKSTOCK
Picture: THINKSTOCK

GROUP Five grew earnings in the first half of its financial year from the low base and was buoyed by the performance of its investments and concessions cluster.

The company said on Monday that the strong results in that business unit had more than offset a continued weak performance from the engineering and construction cluster, which delivered operating results below expectations.

In the six months to December 31 2015, Group Five reported a 21% rise in fully diluted headline earnings per share (HEPS) to 131c compared with the year-earlier period and growth in operating profit of 41% to R289.2m. Revenue increased marginally by 5% to R7.3bn while the total order book fell 6% to R17.6bn from a year ago.

The company declared an interim dividend of 42c per share, up 40% from the year-earlier period.

Concerning the investigation by the competition authorities into alleged collusive tendering, the company said management continued to engage with the body and that any settlement or liability would be adequately covered.

Group Five said it would continue to review its group corporate support structures to further improve efficiencies and reduce overheads. The company said it would focus on its expansion into Africa.

"The group is making steady progress in its sector-led African expansion strategy, which leverages off the group’s established bases in West, Southern and East Africa, with a particular focus on the energy, transport and real estate markets. These markets are active, although the contracts have long gestation periods, and continue to show solid medium-to long-term prospects."