S.Africa's Bidvest lifts H1 profit, food service unit robust


South Africa’s second-biggest company by revenue, Bidvest Group, reported a 5 per cent increase in half-year profit.

This was helped by strong performance at its food service unit and favourable currency swings.

Bidvest, a conglomerate spanning automobile showrooms, shipping and catering, said diluted headline EPS were 877 cents for the six months to the end of December, compared with 835 cents a year earlier.


Headline EPS, the most widely watched profit measure in South Africa, strips out certain one-off items.

Bidvest, which makes more than half of its sales overseas, said revenue increased 16.5 per cent to 104.4 billion rand (8.94 billion US dollars).

(READ MORE: Bidvest looks to acquire 100% of Adcock)

South African industrial firms are struggling with weak economic growth and slack demand from consumers, who are battling high personal debt levels. But Bidvest has fared better, as its defensive food service unit offset its more cyclical automotive and freight division.

The food service unit, whose trading profit grow by nearly one-third, supplies food to pubs, restaurants and hotels in southern Africa, Europe, South America and Asia.

Bidvest said last week it was preparing to make a 515 million US dollars offer for shares it does not already own in local drugmaker Adcock Ingram in a new attempt to build a big presence in the pharmaceutical market.

“While this offer will remove uncertainty around Bidvest’s intention to acquire the remaining Adcock ordinary shares, Adcock shareholders also benefit from a premium to the share trading level over recent months,” Bidvest’s founder and chief executive, Brian Joffe, said in a statement.