Grindrod's core businesses, comprising Port & Terminals, Logistics, Bank, and Group, reported strong headline earnings of R345 million and a trading profit of R779 million. The headline earnings from core businesses reflect a significant improvement in business performance compared to the six months ended 30 June 2020 as the operations recovered from the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020. Port & Terminals and Logistics benefitted from the increase in mining minerals exports and other cargo flows, strong citrus season, and alternative solutions to the deep-sea shipping lines. Grindrod Bank remained conservative in lending and continued to maintain substantial capital and liquidity ratios.
Port and Terminals
The significant increase in volumes handled in Maputo Port (9.4 million tonnes, up 7%) and Grindrod's Matola Terminal operations (3.1 million tonnes, up 18%) resulted from solid commodity demand and contingencies to supplement rail volumes with road delivery. Investment in port infrastructure and the automation of processes in the port, which will soon be complete, have contributed to efficiencies and increased capacity utilisation. Trials to load bigger vessels in Maputo Port and Grindrod's Matola Terminal have been successful, with the focus now on optimising berth utilisation.
The outlook for these businesses remains positive as management focuses on uplifting rail allocation to Richards Bay, unlocking bottlenecks at the Mozambique border, positioning the operations to handle Private Sector Participation opportunities, and growing the current manganese solutions for our customers.
The container feeder vessels, container depots and transport, and multi-purpose terminal businesses improved profitability due to tailored customer solutions and on the back of an excellent citrus season, strong mineral exports, and increased shipping activities. Our container feeder vessels and network of logistics solutions have provided deep-sea shipping lines with alternative solutions to alleviate challenges.
Grindrod resumed the graphite logistics operation in Nacala. Management will focus on optimising the logistics solution as volume ramps up in the second half of the year in line with global demand. The resumed graphite logistics operation in Nacala has mitigated to some extent the impact of the Liquefied Natural Gas project suspension in Cabo Delgado due to the insurgency attacks.
Driven by high iron ore prices, five of the ten locomotives which were not relocated from Sierra Leone were redeployed as the Tonkolili mine resumed activities. Management will continue to pursue value extraction from the rail businesses through either or both locomotive disposals and deployment.
Grindrod Bank focused on its client relationships and quality lending during the period, ensuring it retained its strong liquidity and capital position. Earnings were up on the prior period. The Bank's lending and core deposit books increased by 9% and 23% to R8.6 billion and R10.5 billion, respectively, from December 2020. The Bank remains cautious in its lending activities. The strategic focus on platform banking has generated growth in the number of new accounts in the period. The Bank refinanced the loan notes that matured in June 2021. The bonds were oversubscribed, and the pricing on the new 3-year notes was 50 basis points better than those that matured.
The Group continues to pursue the sale of non-core assets.
"We remain committed to building logistics solutions that are most cost-effective and efficient for our customers' cargo flow ensuring that Africa's exports and imports reach destinations. This aligns with our purpose of making a positive difference in Africa's trade with the world and touching the lives of the communities in which we operate," said Andrew Waller, CEO of Grindrod Limited.
For further information:
Please contact Alison Briggs