Agricultural firm Crookes Brothers said on Wednesday its after-tax profit decreased by 70.5% to R26.4-million in the six months ended September 2017, driven down by a decline in sugar cane revenue in the aftermath of drought.
Crookes however said it expected results for the full year to March 2018 to recover, helped by a firming of deciduous fruit markets and its macadamia and property projects.
"The period under review has been challenging in the wake of the drought and under the prevailing tough economic conditions," the company said, reporting a 33% drop to R115.9-million in operating cash flows.
But the lower half-year profitability was in line with expectations and an expected recovery to normal rainfall in the northern region bode well for the following financial year, it added.
Crookes Brothers is involved in the production of sugar cane, bananas, deciduous fruit and macadamia nuts and has agricultural operations in South Africa's KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Western Cape provinces, as well as neighbouring Swaziland, Zambia and Mozambique. It also works in property development.