Chief executive's statement
Brian Joffe
Chief executive


  • Bidvest back to record highs
  • Trading profit up to R5,6 billion on 5,1% trading margin
  • Capital expenditure tops R2,7 billion
  • Our businesses generate R8,0 billion in cash as ROFE rises to 38,7%
  • Rededication to decentralised, entrepreneurial model drives turnaround
  • Strong performance by Asia Pacific region
  • Resurgence at leaner Bidvest Automotive
  • Financial service cluster takes shape
  • Acquisition opportunities to be examined in 2011

Headline numbers

Pleasing results for the year reflect the dedication and work ethic of Bidvest people in all regions. Headline earnings per share moved 15,1% higher to 1 070 cents despite the impact of R61,2 million in acquisition charges, mainly attributable to our new eastern European businesses, Nowaco and Farutex.

Revenue eased lower to R109,8 billion (2009: R112,4 billion) but trading margin improvements – up to 5,1% from 4,6% – led to significant growth in trading profit (R5,6 billion versus R5,1 billion in 2009).

Currency rates had a material impact on results following strong rand gains versus sterling and the euro. The negative impact on translation of the earnings of foreign operations was equivalent to 4,2% of HEPS.


In many national markets in which we are active, official figures showed a return to growth. However, consumer and business behaviour in those same geographies continued to reflect considerable caution and trading conditions remained difficult.

The contradiction is explained by the initial shock of recession and the extent of economic contraction. Shock effects have not yet receded while "growth" since then has still not taken economies back to the levels of prosperity and confidence achieved in 2007.

For Bidvest, the high watermark was 2008. A disappointing year followed as recession set in. Our 2010 performance takes us slightly above the record levels achieved in 2008. It is cause for satisfaction that a lot of hard work is bearing fruit. However, we still need to catch up that period of lost growth. Everyone at Bidvest is aware that challenges persist and we can't afford to let up.

Concerted efforts by operational management to optimise inventory levels and manage debtor delinquencies ensured all regions registered an improvement in returns on funds employed. Our managers kept an eye on the bottom line, but they also kept an eye on the future. Bidvest businesses continued to invest in infrastructure even as they reduced costs and pursued efficiencies.

Group capital expenditure topped R2,7 billion.

Entrepreneurial model

Deliberate focus on the decentralised, entrepreneurial Bidvest model drove these improvements.

At Bidvest we've always believed that people make profits, businesses only report them. We empower people by refusing to create elaborate structures and systems. We keep things simple, local and flexible.

Value is realised by turning a good business into a great business. But more fundamental than that is turning good people into great people. The Bidvest model is a way of doing that. We encourage local entrepreneurs to build the operations they control by applying the disciplines that turn small businesses into big ones.

We may operate in a global economy, but each individual is pivotal; each team important. Being the best you can be wherever you happen to be is the reason for Bidvest success.

Application of our decentralisation philosophy led to renewal and resurgence across all regions.