In the six months to end December, the group said yesterday that difficult equity markets had impacted the results, specifically within the financial services division.
Ralphs said the earnings were achieved despite the frail economic backdrop and significant business and political uncertainty.
“It again demonstrates the value of our diversified portfolio and the quality of the underlying businesses. Gross profit margin growth was pleasing, augmented by strong cost discipline as well as good capital management,” he said.
Revenue was flat at R40bn while headline earnings increased by 10percent to R2.1bn, up from R1.9bn compared to last year.
Headline earnings per share increased by 9.6percent to 629.1cents a share, up from 574c, and the group declared an interim dividend of 282c, which was up by 10.6percent.
In November last year Bidvest successfully raised three long-term bonds, totalling R1.3bn, which the group said were significantly oversubscribed at attractive rates.
During the period the group concluded bolt-on acquisitions in services as well as office and print, while minorities were bought out in Glassock in the Financial Services business and Glenryck in Namibia.
Sebenza was merged into Bidvest Panalpina Logistics, which forms part of Freight. Post the financial year, the group acquired Aquazania for R390million and will be housed in the services business.
The group, commenting on the leadership changes, said that the board had deemed it “timeous and appropriate” to appoint Madisa as chief executive designate.
“This is consistent with a comprehensive succession plan that was developed and has been executed over the past several years to specifically mentor and continue her preparation for the chief executive role,” the group said.
Madisa, who currently serves as an executive director in the group, will work closely with Ralphs, who will continue as the group chief executive until the 2021 financial year.
Madisa has a long history with Bidvest, having joined the group in 2003.
Bidvest shares closed 0.11percent higher at R211.84 on the JSE yesterday.