Chairperson's review

Lorato Phalatse Chairperson of the board
Lorato Phalatse Chairperson of the board

Global conditions remained subdued, nevertheless the Group rendered excellent results.

In succeeding Mr Ramaphosa as chairman, I could not have wished for a better introductory medium than the pleasure of presenting what is yet another successful year for The Bidvest Group Limited. This, notwithstanding the unique, yet significant challenges facing our economy. Improving historical performance levels requires leadership and staff to see opportunities arising from the challenges and to leverage Group innovation to extract emergent gains. Among Bidvest’s many attributes is the ability to adapt to an evolving economic environment. This attests to the quality of Proudly Bidvest people and many years of continued investment in employee development.

Since joining the board, I have had the pleasure of interacting with many Bidvest people during a tour of local subsidiaries and associate companies. It was pleasing to see great passion and dedication to their respective entities and, most importantly, the strong linkages to the Group and, by extension, intense brand loyalty. The tour also gave me greater insight into the Group’s operations and our diverse range of products and services.

I was particularly struck by the sense of ownership displayed at every operation. Local teams “own” the businesses they run. They live the Proudly Bidvest ethos. They make the difficult choices and hold themselves accountable.

The year under review

Global conditions remained subdued with marginal growth rates in most of our major trading economies. While the US and Europe can be said to be showing signs of recovery, this remains fragmented across sectors. Growth in major emerging economies such as China remains below key levels for positive global impact.

The Group nevertheless rendered excellent results with headline earnings per share rising to 1 560,6 cents and resultant earnings per share of 1 526,8 cents. Details are outlined in the chief executive and financial director’s reports.

Prospects for the ensuing year

Global trends and continued positive growth in emerging economies provide a degree of cautious optimism. The irony, however, is that Africa has shown signs of regressive disorder, compounded by emerging conflict. This, after a sustained period of rare stability prior to the global financial crisis. This notwithstanding, a 5% average growth is forecast for Africa in 2014, largely buoyed by resource-rich countries.

The South African economy has been severely tested and all key stakeholders are conscious of the need for urgent remedial action to ensure we do not fall into real recession. Continued positive engagement between government and the private sector remains crucial. Partnership on the already identified programmes remains our commonly agreed enabler for economic development, job creation and substantive poverty alleviation.

This seemingly ominous backdrop provides unique opportunities for emerging economies and by extension to Bidvest companies. The Group is likely to remain acquisitive during the ensuing year, with a strong emphasis on achieving our key ratios for sustained organic growth. Continued market stability and evident recovery bodes well for Group companies offshore. The board will again be looking to encourage and to join executives and staff in ensuring that we maintain our tradition of excellence.

Best practice

A major empowerment success at Bidvest concerns the BEE structure adopted by the Group, it is unique. While some other approaches may have experienced challenges, the Bidvest-Dinatla model has proved robust. Last year, Dinatla shareholders realised considerable value on the disposal of some of their Bidvest equity. It is heartening to see these shareholders are today ploughing some of that wealth into local enterprise development.

This is empowerment as it should be. Bidvest can take pride in the development of a best practice empowerment model capable of delivering tangible benefits where it matters most.

Farewells

We bid farewell to a number of colleagues who retire or retired through normal expiry of tenure. Stephen Koseff and Joe Pamensky are among our longest serving members and have left an indelible mark on the Group’s character. Peter Nyman (former Group FD), Allan Salomon (MD Bidvest Bank), Lionel Jacobs (former commercial director), Muriel Dube and Rachel Mathabo Kunene (non-executive directors) have all made significant contributions to the Group and will equally be remembered with fondness. We wish them well and good health in their new endeavours.

Finally, let me take the opportunity to express our sincere thanks to our departing chairman, Cyril Ramaphosa. He has made a considerable contribution to Bidvest. We thank him for his stewardship, wisdom and guidance. Of course, he now has a full-time job as deputy president of the African National Congress. The board and I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well in his new role.

On behalf of the board, I conclude by expressing sincere appreciation to the Group leadership, executives and staff within our various companies for what has been a great year of performance and good results. To Brian Joffe, whose leadership of the executive teams remains steadfast, and my fellow board members, I look forward to working with you in my new capacity and I have no doubt that I will continue to receive your support.

Lorato Phalatse
Chairperson of the board

 
Registered office South Africa
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South Africa
Website: www.bidvest.com
Telephone: +27 (11) 772 8700
Facsimile: +27 (11) 772 8970
Email: info@bidvest.co.za
 

 

 

 

 

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