Bidvest Revives Plan to Sell Shares in Food Services Unit

  • Spun-off company's shares will be traded in Johannesburg
  • Previous plan to list stock in London was abandoned in 2014

Bidvest Group Ltd. said it will spin off and sell shares in its food-services business in Johannesburg, 15 months after South Africa’s second-largest company abandoned a plan to list the operation in London.

The Foodservice Business International unit’s shares will be traded on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s main board, Bidvest said in a statement on Monday. The successful completion of the transaction will depend on a number of conditions, including approval by relevant regulatory authorities, the Johannesburg-based company said.

Food-services accounted for 57 percent of Bidvest’s sales in the year through June. The unit includes businesses from catering to food-processing, and operates in more than 20 countries across Europe, Australasia, the Middle East and Southern Africa, according to the company’s website.

Bidvest shares rose as much as 4.9 percent to a record high in Johannesburg, before paring gains to trade 2.8 percent higher at 371.17 rand as of 10:57 a.m. That extended gains for the calendar year to 13 percent, valuing the company at 124 billion rand ($7.8 billion).

Bidvest explored a listing of the food-services unit on the London Stock Exchange in 2014, a move that Chief Executive Officer Brian Joffe said could provide cheaper funding to expand into new markets. The company said in November that year it decided against the plan after a review.

Bidvest said in October it was implementing an internal reorganization aimed at giving each business more responsibility and ability to pursue growth opportunities. After the spin off of food services, the company will be left with its Bidvest Industrial Holdings division, which includes its South Africa unit and Namibia interest, and Bidvest Capital Proprietary, which oversees the South African property portfolio and well as minority investments.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.