Operating profit excluding special items for the year was $487 million compared to $357 million in the prior year. Special items amounted to a gain of $57 million, comprised mainly of a plantation fair value gain as a result of the weaker Rand and the resultant increase in local timber prices.
Sappi’s profit for the period was up 91% to $319 million (FY15 $167 million).
Net cash generation for the financial year was $359 million (FY15 $145 million), which included proceeds from the sale of Cape Kraft and Enstra mills of $39 million.
Sappi CEO Steve Binnie said: “I am very pleased that the group has delivered another strong performance to build on the momentum created in 2014 and 2015. Significantly, our profit for the year has nearly doubled to $319 million and our earnings per share for the year increased by some 68% to US 57 cents. The success of our strategy is evident in our cash generation which has allowed us to reduce our debt levels to below our stated target and to do this earlier than anticipated.”