Revenue for the year rose to R10.6 billion (R10.2 billion) whilst gross profit increased to R1.8 billion (R1.7 billion). Operating profit jumped to R438.4 million (R379.7 million). Total profit and comprehensive income attributable to equity holders shot up to R247.4 million (R197.0 million). In addition, headline earnings per share grew to 332.9 cents per share (284.2 cents per share).
A dividend (dividend number 60) of 115 cents per share will be paid on Monday, 18 June 2018 to members reflected in the share register of the company at the close of business on the record date, Friday, 15 June 2018.
Annual general meeting
Details of the annual general meeting are expected to be released on 3 May 2018.
Economic growth in the year ahead is expected to be an improvement on the past three years, provided the global backdrop remains as supportive as it was last year. It seems likely that political uncertainty will moderate, and a few interventions to restore confidence will serve to ease some of the constraints on both investment and consumption. The country's new president has spoken of a number of practical proposals which will boost growth and address endemic corruption, but whether he will deliver on these remains to be seen. The reality check will come over the next few months when he begins to deal with public sector wage negotiations, prosecution of corrupt present and past government officials, land redistribution pressure, and the state of disarray at the state-owned enterprises. I believe that economic stability and growth will be ensured by a vision which honestly recognises past failures, accepts fairly that both the public and private sectors are accountable, and acknowledges the available resources with which we can work.
The recent hikes, in respect of value-added tax, ad valorem duty and taxes on carbon emissions, all necessitated by government mismanagement of finances, will negatively affect the motor industry. However, I am optimistic that a new dawn has broken and that modest economic recovery lies ahead. Together with the possibility of a further marginal interest rate cut, it will provide welcome respite for those many consumers who are drowning in debt.
The Group is well positioned for continued growth. It has remedied its loss-making businesses, pared operating costs, and is keenly focused on marketing and customer service. It has a strong balance sheet, healthy cash resources, and an experienced and committed senior management team. Economists are predicting a 3% to 5% rise in new vehicle sales, and this will provide a welcome stimulus for the industry.
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