South African packaging company Nampak has reported a 21% rise in earnings per share as a result of a 22% improvement in operating profits and a reduction in finance costs.

The company’s net gearing improved to 10% from 32% in September 2010.

For the year, operating profits from continuing operations increased by 22% and the trading margin improved to 9.8% from 9.1% last year due to better results from the diversified canning, corrugated and flexible divisions as well as the sale of underperforming businesses.

Nampak CEO Andrew Marshall said the company has invested a further R676m ($78m) in the businesses where it has sustainable competitive advantages.

The company has recently reached an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% of the glass business that Nampak does not already own for about R900m ($105m).