South Africa's second-largest food company, AVI, posted a 19% jump in profits from continuing operations during its first half, as it reaped the benefit from price rises.

Net income rose to ZAR3.62bn (US$34.2m) in the six months ended 31 December, up from ZAR3.03bn in the comparable period of last year, the company said.

Headline earnings per share rose 12% to 103 cents for the first half, at the top end of its forecast of 5-15% growth.

Revenue from continuing operations was up 18% year-on-year to ZAR4bn.

However, AVI warned that the South African trading environment had taken a turn for the worse, with January and February sales falling short of the company's forecast after retailers reduced inventory more aggressively than expected.

"Household disposable income is likely to remain constrained by relatively high interest rates and reduced access to credit," the company said.

Demand in the second-half is likely to be "dampened" because of global economic uncertainty, AVI warned.

However, the company declined to provide a specific forecast for the second half of its fiscal year.