JSE-listed Bidvest Group, which unbundled its food-services unit Bidcorp this year, has reported higher earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation, which rose 3.9% to R7.3-billion for the year ended June 30, amid a lower net debt, which fell to R5-billion from R7.8-billion.
In a statement released on Monday, the group said it had delivered creditable trading results against the backdrop of challenging market conditions in the Southern Africa region.
Headline earnings a share, which excluded one-time items, were R10.54 for the year, while revenue gained 3.6% and grew to R68.2-billion.
Trading profit at the commercial products unit, which includes catering equipment and the distribution of Nissan Motor forklift products in South Africa, increased by 42%, while financial services rose 10%.
The Commercial Products, Financial Services, Electrical and Services divisions delivered improved contributions, while the Freight division’s trading profit was marginally lower than last year, owing to declining commodity volumes in the resources sector.
The automotive division has been negatively affected by the decline in vehicle sales, while Bidvest Namibia continues to be impacted by declining fish quotas.
In the first half of the year, the company acquired Bidvest Plumblink in South Africa, along with Novel Ford in Namibia.
In the second half of the year, Bidvest Insurance acquired Glassock & Associates.
After the year-end, the group announced that it had acquired 100% of Brandcorp, which will enable Bidvest to add various niche industrial and consumer products into its portfolio of existing services and offerings.
Bidvest states that the acquisition is close to being finalised, pending approval from the Competition Tribunal. The Brandcorp portfolio will form part of Bidvest’s Commercial Products division.
At divisional level, the company has continued to make a variety of bolt-on acquisitions, such as Bidvest Insurance’s purchase of FMI, a life insurance underwriting manager.
As one of South Africa’s largest employers and a significant investor in the local economy, Bidvest says that it shares the concerns that have been raised by business leadership relating to the ongoing disruption of some of South Africa’s most important economic institutions and appeals for a rapid resolution of this current state of affairs.