File picture: Philimon Bulawayo
JOHANNESBURG - Bid Corporation (Bidcorp) said yesterday that it was not planning to slow down on making new acquisitions in the future, but remained committed to waiting for the right opportunities to come along.

Chief executive Bernard Berson said Bidcorp's management was focused on growth opportunities.

“Our strategic focus of growing our independent customer base has driven organic growth, while bolt-on acquisitions have been concluded to broaden our product range and provide geographic extension. Despite our appetite for acquisitions, we remain disciplined in our approach to accessing the 'right' opportunities,” Berson said.

At the beginning of July 2017, Bidcorp acquired 70percent of Pier 7 Foods, a small Munich-based food-service business. It operates from five German locations and one Austrian.

It also acquired a niche Portuguese horeca business and integrated into Bidfood Iberia. Smaller bolt-on acquisitions were concluded in Australia, Spain, New Zealand and Turkey.

The group said total investment in acquisitions was R588.2million in the six months to end-December trading period.

In the results, the group reported 7.7percent growth, or 8.3percent in constant currency, in net revenue from continuing operations to R61.5billion, up from R57.1bn, reflecting a market share growth and Bidcorp focus on core food service markets in all geographies.

Trading profit rose 8.9percent to R3bn, up from R2.8b. The trading margin was constant at 4.9percent.

The group said gross profit percentage was maintained at 23.6percent as some businesses sacrificed margin to grow free trade volumes while some dairy category inflation was absorbed.

Acquisition costs were R14.6million, up from R14m, while net finance charges rose 16.6percent to R136.5m.

Bidcorp declared an interim cash dividend of 280c a share, up by 12percent.