Bidvest of South Africa Eyes Further Growth as Profit Rises

  • Food services unit profit gained 25%; financial Services Falls
  • Considers alternative strategies to speed African expansion

Bidvest Group, South Africa’s second-biggest company by sales, said it sees opportunities to expand despite unpredictable economic conditions and is exploring new ways to help accelerate growth in other African countries.

“Across all our businesses, opportunities exist to add new product ranges and expand local footprints, via both organic and acquisitive growth,” the company said on Monday in its earnings statement for the 12 months through June. “Our focus on expanding our exposure to Africa remains.”

Bidvest has interests ranging from car dealerships to catering and pharmaceutical products. The company is seeking to expand outside its home market, where the economy contracted in the second quarter for the first time in more than a year amid power shortages and faltering commodity prices.

The Johannesburg-based company’s earnings per share excluding one-time items climbed 8.6 percent to 18.82 rand. That beat an 18.63 rand average of 13 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales gained 12 percent to 204.9 billion rand ($15.4 billion).

Trading profit at the food unit, Bidvest’s largest by sales, gained 25 percent to 4 billion rand. Bidvest South Africa, the second-biggest division, increased trading profit by 4 percent to 5.2 billion rand. The consumer-products and financial-services businesses both reported profit declines.

“Trading conditions in South Africa are likely to remain tough in a low-growth environment but management sees opportunity in the current market volatility,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Joffe said in the statement. “Certain divisions are being realigned to cater for succession and streamline our service offering.”

Bidvest shares gained 2.1 percent to 311.32 rand at 9:13 a.m. in Johannesburg. The shares have advanced 2.7 percent this year, valuing the company at 105 billion rand. That compares with a 1.1 percent rise on the FTSE/JSE Africa Top 40 Index.

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