THE BIDVEST GROUP LIMITED
(?Bidvest? or ?the Group?)
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
(Registration number 1946/021180/06)
JSE Share code: BVT
VOLUNTARY TRADING UPDATE: Four months to 31 October 2020
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) held today, 27 November 2020, the Group provided an update on its
performance for the first four months, ended 31 October 2020, of the financial year (FY21).
Reflecting on the past four months, Bidvest chief executive Mpumi Madisa said: ?Bidvest?s FY21 tag line
#EmergingStronger, could not be more appropriate. I am immensely proud of the Bidvest family. We
prioritised the health and well-being of our employees in the face of the continued pandemic, maintained a
healthy financial position through strong cash generation, and digested the significant PHS acquisition whilst
delivering value-added services and products into a changed operating environment. The future remains
uncertain but the Group is resilient, agile and future fit.?
Since the start of the financial year, the monthly operational performance of the Group has improved
sequentially due to market share gains in several businesses, the PHS acquisition, exposure to certain growth
segments and exceptional cost discipline. Revenue and trading profit delivered in the first four months of FY21
was broadly unchanged relative to the same period last year. This, despite negative economic growth, low
business and consumer confidence in all operating territories and travel and tourism related industries which
The Commercial Products and Services divisions delivered excellent results driven by market share gains and
further boosted by a performance from PHS that has exceeded expectations. The Freight, Branded Products
and Automotive divisions performed well considering negative top-line growth. Freight benefitted from strong
bulk volumes handled while cost savings and business optimisation initiatives limited the negative operating
leverage in the latter two divisions. Financial Services continue to be plagued by decimated travel forex and a
net rolling off of fleet leased assets. Bidvest Properties? proactive approach to rental yields has stood it in good
The commissioning of Bidvest Freight?s R1 billion Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) terminal in Richards Bay was
completed on 22 October 2020, two years after being featured in President Ramaphosa?s inaugural investment
conference in 2018. Bidvest is proud of its significant contribution to the LPG industry in South Africa, the growth
of which will stimulate real GDP growth and lead to job creation across the LPG-supply chain while offering a
myriad of opportunities for small, micro and medium-enterprises and potential cost savings for consumers and
Asset management and operational cash generation remain core focus areas across the Group. The debtors
book remains in good shape. In line with historic seasonal patterns, working capital absorption is likely to be
reported at the end of the interim period. Various Group businesses have flagged supply chain constraints and
some product shortages in recent weeks and appropriate response measures have been put in place.
During October 2020, Bidvest successfully raised R5 billion in long-term funding in the local market extending
the Group?s debt maturity profile. These funds, together with other available free cash, have been applied
against the PHS bridge loan. The remaining balance of the bridge loan can comfortably be dealt with in the
normal course of business. Net debt/EBITDA remains below bank covenants and Group liquidity remains
strong. In line with the recent downgrade of SA?s government issuer rating, Moody?s Investors Service
downgraded Bidvest?s corporate family rating from Ba1 to Ba2 whilst maintaining the negative rating outlook.
The disposals of Bidvest Car Rental, Bidair Services and the 6.75% stake in the Mumbai International Airport
are progressing. Operationally, these businesses have performed as expected.
Group ROFE improved year on year.
The safety, health and well-being of our employees remains an imperative. The R400 million Bidvest COVID-19
Fund continues to support the income of our South African employees not working due to lockdown
restrictions. Usage of the Group-wide comprehensive employee wellness programme is encouraging. Bidvest
continues to access employee benefit programmes offered in South Africa, the UK and Ireland on behalf of
employees. Fortunately, COVID-19 infections and fatalities across our Group have been limited. Prevention
and treatment protocols remain in place throughout the operations to manage the health, safety and recovery
of our people and businesses during the pandemic.
More recently, renewed lockdown measures have been implemented in Ireland and the UK which will
negatively impact some activities while in South Africa, the opening of international borders ahead of the
traditional peak tourism season should provide some impetus for travel and tourism related activity. We
remain close to our customers with regards to their future office requirements and alert to investment
Additional operational commentary:
PHS?s results to date have exceeded expectations and the growing hygiene pool bodes well for continued
growth. Noonan delivered a solid performance despite Future Cleaning?s customer base, predominantly
cinemas, being under pressure due to lockdown restrictions. In South Africa, the annuity-income businesses
reported good results as the rental and client base expanded and non-contractual services increased. Despite
businesses in the Allied cluster having been hard hit by office and hotel closures, revenue is showing
sequential improvement. As can be expected, the Travel cluster, Bidair Services and Lounges recorded trading
The continuation of good manganese, chrome and other bulk mineral volumes together with seasonal maize
exports and wheat imports resulted in greater volumes handled by the bulk terminals. Bidvest Tank Terminals
delivered a solid performance considering the slight volume declines and challenges at some customers. The
Richards Bay LPG terminal will contribute from 1 November 2020. Lower import volumes and freight
movement resulted in materially lower revenue and trading profit in the other businesses. The benefit of
restructuring efforts will fully materialise from January 2021.
The work-from-home approach maintained by many corporations, the disrupted education sector as well as no
flu season and an over-stocked OTC supply chain significantly impacted revenue in Branded Products. Demand
for Home of Living Brands? everyday essential products, Adcock Ingram?s consumer products and packaging
into on-line channels is, however, stronger. Encouragingly, revenue is improving sequentially. The weaker rand
at the start of the period resulted in some gross margin pressure. Exceptional cost management means the
division is holding its own until demand re-emerges.
The combination of revenue growth, restructuring and cost containment measures resulted in an excellent
trading profit performance. Market share gains across the Trade and DIY/Workwear/Tools clusters as well as
leisure product demand growth more than offset continued weak industrial demand. Improved gross margin,
lower operating costs and very good asset management led to significantly higher trading profit and cash
generation. Supply chain issues, particularly pertaining to container movement, and product shortages have
more recently become challenges.
Bidvest Bank?s non-interest revenue was severely impacted by international travel restrictions and the net roll-
off of fleet management units while lower rates depressed net interest margins. Rationalisation of the branch
network and restructuring in response to digital forex and money transfer capabilities are work-in-progress.
The insurance operations delivered credible performances driven by improved month-on-month policy sales
and sound cost control. The insurance portfolio yielded losses for the period.
The Automotive division delivered a good result notwithstanding the subdued trading environment. New and
used vehicle sales declined 22% and 15%, respectively. Aftermarket activity has recovered to around 85% of
pre-COVID levels. Gross profit margin on vehicle and part sales remained broadly stable with servicing margins
slightly down. Cost saving measures limited the decline in trading profit. Asset management has been good,
particularly in monetising inventory.
Hannah Sadiki was appointed as the Bidvest Bank and Financial Services divisional CEO, effective 1 November
2020. Hannah brings to the role more than 30 years? banking experience.
Bidvest results for the six-months ending 31 December 2020 are expected to be released on SENS on or about
Monday, 1 March 2021.
The information above has not been audited, reviewed or reported on by the Group?s auditors and does not
constitute a forecast.
Date: 27 November 2020
Sponsor: Investec Bank Limited
Date: 27-11-2020 09:50:00
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