Afrox is paying shareholders 2,1 billion rand for the sale of its healthcare subsidiary and expects sound future growth from the new initiatives.

The new initiatives comprehend a new safety business, Gas & Gear retail outlets and new export markets for both welding electrodes and gas equipment and accessories.

The board of directors has decided to distribute the net proceeds from the disposal of the company's 68 per cent shareholding in Afrox Healthcare Limited in the form of a share buy back and a special dividend. A special cash dividend amounting to 415 cents per ordinary share has been declared and the distribution of the remainder of the net proceeds, through a share buy back, amounts to 193 cents. The total distribution will therefore be 608 cents per Afrox share.

In addition, the board of directors has declared an interim cash dividend from the industrial operations of 40 cents per share, an increase of 21 percent on the comparable results this time last year.

For the six months ended 31 March 2005, the consolidated results of both Afrox industrial and healthcare, have shown a nine per cent increase in revenue to 4,1 billion rand (2004: R3,7 billion) with operating profit up seven per cent at 641,2 million rand (2004: R598,3 million) and headline earnings per share 12 per cent higher than the comparable period last year.

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