Consumer goods group AVI — the owner of footwear retailer Spitz stores, Five Roses tea, and seafood company I&J — is proceeding with a R820m final dividend payment after the Covid-19 pandemic had a mixed effect on its businesses.

Covid-19 hit apparel sales and fishing activity, but higher selling prices and the pandemic boosted biscuits and tea.

AVI’s snack division, which includes Bakers biscuits, experienced 12% revenue growth in the group’s year to end-June, contributing about a third of group revenue, which rose 0.4% to R13.2bn.

The pandemic hit apparel sales, and Spitz revenue fell 15.5% to R1.28bn.

The group also recorded additional costs of R58m related to the pandemic, and headline earnings, which excludes certain one-off items, fell 8.6% to R1.55bn.
During the year the group sold its 40% stake in its joint venture with Australian food company Simplot for R631.8m.
Profit after tax rose 21.4% to R1.94bn, and the group declared a final dividend of 250c per share, unchanged from previously.
AVI said retail sales should improve as shopping mall footfall grows, while demand in beverages and snacks businesses is likely to stabilise as consumer spending patterns normalise.