Solutions provider and capital equipment supplier ELB on Wednesday announced interim profit of R52-million, a 13% year-on-year increase on the R46-million reported in the same period of 2016, with headline earnings a share increasing from R1.42 to R1.58.
Sales for the period improved by 63% to R1.72-billion in the six months ended December 31, 2017, from R1.05-billion a year earlier. The increase has been driven mainly tby he engineering services segment, owing to the progression of major projects, but there were also significant sales increases in the equipment and Australasia segments, the JSE-listed company stated.
Sales in the engineering services segment increased to R974-million in the 2017 half-year, from R452-million in 2016, with profit before tax increasing marginally to R24-million, from R23-million.
The company’s equipment sales increased to R485-million in 2017, from R410-million in 2016, with profit before tax increasing to R47-million, from R43-million. ELB attributed the increase in sales to improving market demand and higher market penetration, particularly in heavier mining, earthmoving, crushing and screening equipment.
ELB’s Australasia sales increased to R256-million in 2017, from R191-million in 2016, while the division’s profit before tax increased to R16-million in 2017, from R7-million in 2016. These increases were attributed to the impact of a stronger rand, the continued recovery of volumes and margins, as well as growth in the green waste management segment.
Further, ELB reported a net cash outflow from operating activities of R48-million, compared with a net cash inflow from operating activities of R286-million in 2016, with a decrease in net cash and cash equivalents to R363-million, from R437-million at the prior year-end.
“The net cash outflow and decrease in cash for the period is primarily as a result of the increased working capital commitments on major projects in progress, which are expected to reverse as project milestones are achieved,” the company explained.
ELB stated that, despite the delayed start of certain new major projects, the group’s order book was “resilient” and that it would target opportunities to further position the company favourably for the next 24 months to 36 months.
The company further said that would continue to focus on increasing its know-how and technology focused solutions, such as pursuing the incorporation of new technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence.
Earlier in the week, ELB signed an exclusive technology partnership with software developer IoT.nxt, which it will leverage to leapfrog South Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution by implementing IoT platforms at mineral processing plants.