Mondi posts slight drop in full-year ear

March 21 [Thu], 2013, 3:47
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Paper maker Mondi said on Thursday it expects to reap the benefit of recent acquisitions after reporting a slight drop in full-year earnings on lower prices.

Mondi, which is also listed in London, said diluted headline earnings per share for the year to end December totalled 63.1 euro cents, from a 69.1 euro cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the key measure of profitability in South Africa and strips out certain one-off and non-trading items.

"We started 2012 with a difficult first quarter where volumes were still below normal and prices were starting to bottom out," Mondi Group chief executive David Hathorn told Reuters.

"On average pricing for last year was lower than it was for the previous year."

Mondi, mainly involved in the manufacture of packaging paper, said underlying operating profit fell 9 percent to 568 million euros.

The company is focusing on fast-growing businesses such as consumer packaging and announced several deals last year to boost its market position.

Mondi said its total dividend rose 8 percent to 28 euro cents.

The company's shares were little changed at 113.43 rand as of 0739 GMT, compared with a 0.65 percent fall in the Johannesburg's All-share Index.
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