African Oxygen Limited (Afrox) has reported record operating profits of R684m ($58.8m), up 15 per cent.

Net profit for the company was up 12 per cent at R437m and revenue was higher by 19 per cent at R4bn ($538.6bn).

Earnings per share were 19 per cent higher at 141,6 cents per share.

Managing director, Rick Hogben said: "Significant value has been released for shareholders in disposing of our final 20 per cent in Life Healthcare. For an investment of R375m made this time last year, we realised cash of R850m and a net profit of R362m."

Afrox is well positioned to grow further and has a number of key projects, which are scheduled for commissioning within the next financial year. These include six gas producing facilities, a new MIG welding wire plant and the entire upgrading of Afrox's gases operation centre.

Hogben said that many more growth projects were being investigated. "Perhaps the most important is the possibility of acquiring major storage facilities at the coast to allow for future imports of liquefied petroleum gas, where refineries are unable to meet demand. It will also increase our strategic stock holding for this key energy product."