South Africa's Imperial Logistics earnings fall on costs

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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 25 (Reuters) - South Africa's Imperial Logistics Ltd IPLJ.J reported a 65% fall in full-year earnings on Tuesday, largely due to the impact of COVID-19 on revenue, associated once-off costs and impairments and further restructuring at home.

The ground freight firm handled fewer containers in the second half of its financial year due to lockdown restrictions in various countries.

April was the worst affected, with South Africa trading at about 55% of normal volumes, 70% in African regions and Europe traded at about 50%, it said.

Its African logistics business, mainly in South Africa, saw increased demand from fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and healthcare clients as the pandemic drove heightened demand and consumption. The firm added capacity to meet demand, it said.

Many of its markets have now eased lockdown restrictions and July and August have seen significant recovery "although volumes remain at pre-COVID-19 levels", it said.

Imperial reported continuing headline earnings per share (HEPS) of 156 cents for the year ended June 30, down from a restated 448 cents in the previous year.

Operating profit fell 40% to 1.5 billion rand, while revenue inched up 5% to 46.4 billion rand ($2.75 billion).

"We anticipate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to significantly impact our operations and performance in the short term," the firm said.

Imperial said it expects to deliver revenue and operating profit growth in the 2021 financial year as well as growth in continuing HEPS compared to the prior year.

($1 = 16.8941 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Christian Schmollinger and Jason Neely)

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