SOUTH AFRICA – South Africa’s leading producer of fresh, frozen and long-life convenience meal solutions, RFG Holdings, has reported a 57% rise in headline earnings to R361 million (US$21m) in the year to September 2022, driven by higher global demand for canned fruit products.

The owner of market-leading brands Rhodes, Bull Brand, Magpie, Squish, Hinds and Today, increased revenue by 21.9% to R7.3 billion (US$425.95m) and operating profit by 54.1% to R574 million (US$33.49m).

The company delivered the strong sales despite the constrained consumer spending environment, and benefiting from the Today acquisition.

The Today pie business, which is the tenth acquisition by RFG since listing on the JSE in 2014, was successfully integrated into the group’s operations, generating revenue of R147 million (US$8.58m) for the eight months since being acquired.

Meanwhile, the international division, accounting for 25% of group revenue, experienced robust growth in export volumes due to increased demand for canned fruit and fruit puree products, with revenue growing by 57.4% alongside export volumes jump of 18.3%.

International revenue also benefited by R118 million (US$6.89m) due the weakening in the Rand against the group’s basket of trading currencies.

On the other hand, revenue in the regional business increased by 13.5%. Fresh foods grew revenue by 19.9%, with ready meals achieving good volume growth and proving resilient in the weak spending environment. Long life revenue grew by 9.9%, with fruit juice being the main revenue driver.

RFG’s products are sold in 12 other African countries and revenue from these territories grew by 14.5% to R414 million (US$24.16m).

The sales performance for the year ensured that RFG maintained its market share positions in all product categories.

RFG has 14 production facilities across South Africa and Eswatini, located close to end markets and sources of raw materials.

During the past year the group invested R260 million (US$15.17m) in the maintenance and expansion of these facilities.

This included the completion of a new warehouse at the fruit juice plant in Wellington, the integration of the Today pie business, equipment upgrades at the Eswatini and Gauteng pie facilities and the completion of the pineapple plantation expansion in Eswatini.

In the coming year, the group has planned to expand its renewable energy infrastructure to reduce the impact of loadshedding.

The group will also invest in increasing water storage capacity at some facilities to mitigate the impact of electricity related water supply interruptions.

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