Bidvest's balanced portfolio delivered "credible" results despite tough economy

CFO Mark Steyn says that services, freight and property performed well, while electrics and commercial products struggled.

Diversified group Bidvest has delivered a set of results that it describes as “credible” given the current difficult economic climate. 
The  group is reporting that revenue is largely unchanged at R77 billion, and trading profit is up 3.5 percent to R6.7 billion. 
CFO Mark Steyn says: 

“In a South African context, they aren’t a bad set of results. What our business does particularly well is that we have a nice, balanced portfolio in various sectors across SA Inc. So we can balance high and low performance. Some businesses are taking a proper hit – those in industrial and production at the moment – but other businesses can stand up and cover for them.” 

He says that services, freight and the property division have done particularly well, while the electrical division is in an “unpleasant space” right now and commercial products delivered a “disappointing” performance. 

The group’s Irish facilities management company Nooman, acquired in 2017, has been a star performer, delivering 16 percent growth in euro terms. “The rest of that division has been performing well in the South African environment, so we’re very comfortable with that one.” 

Finally, while the Bidvest bank did well, the financial services division overall struggled against challenges in the insurance space. “The bank itself did OK, but the insurance business didn’t have a great run, largely because of the underlying investment portfolios being significantly down because of poor JSE market performance.” 

Reporting highlights
•    Trading profit up 3.5 percent to R6.7 billion
•    Headline earnings increased to R4.6 billion
•    HEPS increased by 9.8 percent to 1 352.1 cents
•    Normalised HEPS increased by 5.2 percent
•    R7.1 billion cash generated from operations
•    R5 billion spend on acquisitions and capex
•    Final dividend declared of 318 cents per share, up 5.6 percent