(Corrects to remove reference to Ghana and Ivory Coast in final paragraph.)
Nov. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Tiger Brands Ltd., South Africa’s largest food company, predicted that unemployment and rising commodity prices will restrain growth next year even as it reported profit for 2011 that exceeded analysts’ estimates.
The company expects a “difficult” year ahead as the slow pace of economic recovery and rising prices of food ingredients, energy and transportation increase inflation, it said today in a statement.
Growth will be “acceptable” in the 2012 fiscal year, Tiger Brands said, after reporting that basic earnings per share increased 18 percent to 16.29 rand in the year through September. That exceeded the 14.80-rand median estimate of 11 analysts compiled by Bloomberg.
“Although growth and market performance have slowed over the past 12 months, the group’s portfolio of strong brands has nevertheless retained market leadership,” the company said.
Tiger Brands stock was little changed at 225.01 rand as of 10:06 a.m. in Johannesburg, for a gain this year of almost 18 percent.
Tiger Brands will continue to look for acquisitions in Africa, the company said. It spent about 2.1 billion rand ($248 million) in the last fiscal year buying stakes including an additional 11.7 percent of National Foods Holdings Ltd. The purchase, in October, raised its stake in the Zimbabwe company to 37 percent.
Outside its home market of South Africa, the food producer operates in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria.
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