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Bidvest Pays Special Dividend on Better Trading, Profit

Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Bidvest Group Ltd., an industrial holding company with interests from grain-handling to car retailing, said it will pay a special dividend of 80 cents a share as first-half profit surged and trading improved.

The company also increased its interim shareholder payout by 24 percent to 2.80 rand, Johannesburg-based Bidvest said in a statement today. Net income in the six months through December climbed 27 percent to 2.2 billion rand ($264 million).

“Economic conditions in South Africa have improved,” Bidvest said. “Activity levels are anticipated to improve within the European geographies in which the group operates but consumer confidence remains fragile. In Asia Pacific, management are confident of further growth.”

The sale of Bidvest’s 50 percent stake in Mumbai International Airport generated 399.1 million rand in profit, it said. The company, with 4.3 billion rand in cash at the end of the first half, has “ample capacity” to fund growth of existing businesses and make acquisitions to expand its geographic footprint and product and service offering, Bidvest said.

The stock has gained 15 percent over the past six months compared with a 13 percent increase in the FTSE/JSE Africa Top40 Index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sikonathi Mantshantsha in Johannesburg at smantshantsh@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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