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JOHANNESBURG - Services, trading and distribution company Bidvest said on Monday its trading profit rose 8.2 percent to R6.5 billion in the year ended June, while headline earnings per share increased by 11.1 percent to 1,231.6 cents.

The company said five of its seven divisions grew trading profit despite challenging economic conditions, and declared a final dividend of 301 cents per share, up 14 percent over the previous year.

It said it continued to maintain a conservative approach to gearing, with net debt levels considered acceptable at R6.3 billion, compared with R5.6 billion in 2017.

"The core competencies and drivers of Bidvest remain firmly intact and we expect that continued growth will be achieved," it said.

"There is, however, an expectation that economic growth and a return to more robust consumer spending in the current financial year will be lacklustre until policy and political certainty emerges post the national election in 2019."

The main concern for the company remained the government’s ability to drive infrastructural spending and the ongoing maintenance at certain key entities and facilities and it was incumbent on the state to initiate larger programmes of development to kick-start the South African economy.

Bidvest said it was actively advancing its various infrastructural development projects, specifically in liquid gas storage.

Sufficient headroom existed to advance the group’s strategy of growth in its existing markets, as well as continuing to acquire divisional bolt-on businesses and to pursue larger, value adding opportunities locally, it added.

- African News Agency (ANA)