South African dairy processor Clover Industries has forecast half-year earnings will rise by up to 46% on the back of success in pushing up prices.

The company estimates its headline earnings per share - a key metric in South Africa - for the six months to the end of December will jump by 36-46%. It forecast its earnings per share will rise by 31-41%.

In December, Clover had forecast first-half headline earnings per share would grow by more than 30%, with earnings per share predicted to rise over 25%.

Clover said yesterday (10 February) it had benefited from "selling price increases" across most categories, although it had seen volumes and market share fall.

"Selling prices remained firm throughout the annual peak milk production period as industry inventory levels were being restored following the national shortage of raw milk during the winter of 2014. The gross and operating margins improved as a result," Clover said.

First-half revenue increased by 11% if the phasing out of raw milk sales at cost to Danone is excluded, the company said. The agreement with Danone ended on 31 December. Overall sales volumes declined by 3.3% following the increase of selling prices.

Clover will announce its full first-half results in March.