Johannesburg - South Africans should focus less on negative issues and stop “squabbling” so much, Brian Joffe, the chief executive of industrial and service conglomerate Bidvest, said yesterday.
Joffe acknowledged that the country had “ a lot of things to fix” but said that he did not think widespread negative talk was warranted.
“There’s a lot of negative talk; I don’t think things have changed, I think we’re just talking more negatively. Negative issues seem to generate more coverage,” he said.
Joffe was speaking to Business Report on the release of Bidvest’s results for the year to June, which revealed a 6 percent increase in headline earnings a share. Joffe said he hoped for “more real growth” in the year ahead.
“We’ve had a very good July and August. Hopefully we’ve seen the worst, but there will be more inflation in this coming year,” he said.
Management noted that weakness in the rand and the expected spike in inflation were expected to present some cost pressures “but these pressures also give rise to some trading opportunities”.
Divisional teams in the group, which had a strong balance sheet, “continue to seek out acquisitive opportunities to complement our existing product and services offering”.
On the offer for Adcock Ingram, Joffe said Bidvest had not done a due diligence. It had asked for information but had not received any.
A final dividend of R3.96 a share has been declared, bringing the total payout for the year to R7.20 a share. The group’s results were helped by the weakening of the rand against currencies such as the euro and Australian dollar.
Some R69.3 billion of the total group revenue of R153.4bn came from its South African operations. Europe accounted for R48.1bn and southern Africa for R5.9bn.
On a trading profit basis, South Africa accounted for R4.2bn – or 54 percent – of the total R7.7bn trading profit.
In South Africa the star performer was automotive, which reported a 27.6 percent hike in trading profit to R640.9 million.
Office, service and travel and aviation were sectors that also performed strongly.
The management noted that the results were achieved against a “backdrop of competitive markets and subdued economic activity”.
Trading profit performance in Bidvest Foodservice was strong in Asia Pacific and southern Africa but sluggish in Europe.
Joffe, who had said in March that he was upbeat about a turnaround for both the global and local economies, said that things had gone well until the second half of May. “We had a poor June but July and August are looking better.” He said that the reasons for the dip in May were different in different countries.
Joffe said he was “extremely happy” with the results and noted that the group had reported strong performances in all but one of its 25 years in existence. It reported a drop in earnings only in 2008.
“All the business blocks are in place for a long-term sustainable business to grow,” he said.
Bidvest shares rose 2.69 percent to R248.51 yesterday. - Business Report