Revenue for the year increased by 22% to R4.1 billion (2016: R3.4 billion). Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation rose by 7% to R795.4 million (2016: R740.6 million). Profit for the year attributable to owners of the parent lowered by 1% to R369.3 million (2016: R372.4 million). In addition, headline earnings per share was down 3% at 69.2 cents per share (2016: 71.1 cents per share).
Declaration of final dividend number 17
In considering the dividend, the board has decided to increase the dividend cover further in order to balance the need to preserve cash to fund the investment pipeline while also rewarding shareholders based on the current performance.
The board announces the declaration of a final gross dividend of 19.0 cents (2016: 19.0 cents) per ordinary share in respect of the year ended 31 December 2017. This brings the full year dividend to 34.0 cents (2016: 32.5 cents) per share.
We continue to see numerous opportunities, both in South Africa and the rest of the continent, and the group remains in a strong position to pursue its ambitious yet considered organic and acquisitive growth strategy.
Our tertiary and resourcing divisions continue to perform well while significant change is being implemented at the schools division to sharpen market focus and drive operational efficiencies to enable the division to return to a high level of performance.
New market segments and new product offerings are continuously being explored, while in our core markets we expect organic and greenfield growth to continue despite increased competition and challenging economic conditions. These factors, we believe, will further enhance our business performance.