SOUTH AFRICA – Walmart-owned Massmart Holdings has suffered a 10.2% drop in headline earnings per share (HEPS) to 509.7c in the year to December, missing market estimates.

The company said on Thursday that higher net interest paid from funding several significant property acquisitions in 2013-14 and an adverse movement in foreign exchange translations affected headline earnings.

The owner of local brands such as Game‚ Makro and Builders Warehouse, said total sales increased by 10.4% to R78.2bn, but net profit slipped 8.2% to R1.13bn.

“The South African consumer environment improved towards the latter part of 2014, evidenced by the slightly higher nominal sales growth reported by Statistics SA and the group’s own sales performance,” the company said.

“In contrast, several African economies weakened or were affected by currency devaluations, causing some profit pressure in our non-South African businesses which represent 8.1% of group sales.”

The company declared a final dividend of 275c per share. In the review period, it opened 28 stores and 12 were closed, resulting in a total of 392 stores.

March 1, 2015;