Bidvest Enters Chile in Growth Move as Earnings Increasd

Bidvest Group Ltd. said it made an acquisition in Chile to enter South America after earlier purchases helped full-year sales and profit increase.

Earnings per share after one-time transactions rose 27 percent to 14.74 rand in the 12 months through June, beating the 13.57-rand median of 12 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue advanced 13 percent to 133.5 billion rand ($15.9 billion), Johannesburg-based Bidvest said in a statement today.

The company, which has interests from cleaning to car sales, said earnings at its industrial-products division were bolstered by the takeover of work-clothes manufacturer Alsafe. It has also bought a 26.4 percent stake in South African services company Mvelaserve Ltd. Following the acquisition of Deli Meals in Chile, Bidvest will seek other opportunities in South America, particularly in Brazil, Finance Director David Cleasby said in an interview.

“Brazil lends itself to the kind of food business we do,” Cleasby said by phone from Johannesburg. He declined to predict when further deals may materialize, saying that “other acquisitions in the region will come when they come.”

Bidvest increased its dividend 30 percent to 6.22 rand a share and is making a special payout of 80 cents.

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The company, which also owns Seafood Holdings in the U.K., said it will use innovation and acquisitions to accelerate expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, where it has operations in New Zealand, Australia and China. Bidvest will otherwise focus on expanding existing businesses in its main markets worldwide, Cleasby said.

“Our management teams are well positioned to deal with the current economic environment and will pursue organic growth mainly,” Cleasby said.

Bidvest rose as much as 2.2 percent to 205.22 rand, the biggest intraday gain since Aug. 1, and traded 1.9 percent higher at 1:41 p.m. in Johannesburg.

Mvelaserve operates the Total Facilities Management Co., which provides services ranging from office cleaning through engineering project management. Bidvest is Mvelaserve’s biggest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“It certainly has businesses that fit our profile perfectly,” Cleasby said. “Our intention with the company will become clearer in the next while.”

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