“This financial year has been unprecedented. Never has the world, our country, our Group and our people been tested to such an extent. But the true Bidvest spirit shone through. Numerous cost containment, liquidity preservation and strategic steps were implemented in rapid response to considerable demand changes. Various wellness and support interventions were rolled out to assist our employees and communities as their livelihoods were severely impacted. At the same time, innovation within our businesses ramped up to continue to add value to our customers. The Bidvest family is proud of what has been achieved, providing a solid platform to ensure that we are capable of #EmergingStronger.

Our sincerest condolences go to the families, friends and colleagues of the 35 Bidvest employees that sadly succumbed to the COVID-19 virus.”

Lindsay Ralphs – Chief executive

Salient features

R9.2bn cash generated from operations, +38%
Free cash flow of R3.7bn
R6.9bn trading profit from continuing operations, +3%, before R1.6bn COVID-19 charges
Normalised HEPS from continuing operations of 1 028.3 cents, -23%
Robust balance sheet
Mpumi Madisa will assume Chief executive role from 1 October 2020

Highlights

The Group delivered a credible financial performance during the financial year which ended on 30 June 2020, considering the already significantly constrained South African economy pre-COVID-19 and the pandemic’s impact on the last quarter. Post the complete national lockdown in April, monthly trading results have progressively improved.

At the onset of the lockdown, Bidvest proactively bolstered its liquidity position. An intensified focus on cash generation and working capital management, together with rapid and decisive cost containment measures, resulted in R2.5 billion more cash generated from operations to total R9.2 billion. As a consequence, the Group did not need to access the additional credit facilities secured, a truly remarkable result and testament to Bidvest’s longstanding cash generation focus.

The acquisition of PHS Group (PHS), a leading hygiene service provider in_the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain, for GBP495 million was concluded and funded with a GBP-denominated bridge facility. The gearing ratios remained within the Group’s gearing tolerance and bank covenants.

Exceptional cost discipline and improved gross profit margin were highlights in a very challenging year. Trading profit declined 19.9% after taking account of R1.6 billion in COVID-19-related charges.

Services delivered a good overall result, with an excellent performance from Noonan while the SA profitability was negatively impacted by no travel- and hospitality-related activity in the last quarter. Freight delivered a resilient result on lower trade activity through South Africa’s ports. Branded Products’ result was a combination of a solid Adcock Ingram performance while the balance of the division bore the brunt of lower demand and trade restrictions during lockdown. The results from Commercial Products and Automotive mirrored the latter. In Financial Services the negative impact of a complete drop-off of foreign exchange demand in the last quarter and fleet contracts rolling off, more than outweighed higher investment income.

An imperative during this crisis is to protect and provide for the safety, health and well-being of employees who are, collectively, the backbone of our businesses. Bidvest established a R400 million Bidvest COVID-19 Fund, to assist our South African employees not working due to the lockdown restrictions. Various other employee and community support initiatives were rolled out.

Prospects

Bidvest recognises that the pandemic will result in socio-economic shifts and consequently long-term structural changes to the economy and business in general. Bidvest right-sized operations to make sure operating models remain relevant and future-fit, reinforce competitive positions, and ensure that the businesses have sufficient scale for growth.

Overall, we expect the uncertain and fragile operating environment to persist. Bidvest’s basic-need services and everyday essential product ranges should stand it in good stead, especially when coupled with an innovative, value-adding mindset. In recent weeks, we have noted anecdotal market share gains across many of our Commercial Products businesses as we have stock available to trade. Our flagship liquid petroleum gas (LPG) storage project is expected to be commissioned during September 2020. The acquisition of PHS leapfrogged our hygiene exposure and this will be leveraged going forward.

South Africa’s need for real GDP growth to create employment and prosperity for all, is undeniable. Bidvest is actively participating in national workstreams incorporating labour, government and private sector to achieve this.

Bidvest will continue to invest strategically to generate sustainable profits for the long term. The Group remains alert to opportunities both locally and internationally to further its strategy to expand into niche areas but will remain steadfast in our capital allocation disciplines.

Bidvest is well positioned to participate in pockets of activity and opportunities. Disciplined asset management, cost control and an agile business approach should yield good results. We remain confident in our overall resilience and ability to deliver consistent, sustainable growth over the long-term.

Contribution from continuing operations to trading profit

Segmental trading profit#

Year ended 30 June (R million) 2020
Audited
  2019
Restated
Audited
%
change
Services 2 133 745   2 201 208 (3.1%)
Branded Products 1 404 039   941 028 49.2%
Freight 1 160 543   1 386 195 (16.3%)
Commercial Products 393 032   735 534 (46.6%)
Financial Services 304 354   584 503 (47.9%)
Automotive 177 518   531 654 (66.6%)
Properties 579 110   563 395 2.8%
Corporate and investmentsĀ  (812 639)   (276 135) (194.3%)
TotalĀ  5 339 702   6 667 382 (19.9%)
#   These figures are extracts from the audited results

Short-form announcement approval

The contents of this short-form announcement are the responsibility of the board of directors of the Group. These are the summarised results of the full announcement for the year and do not contain full or complete details of the financial results. Any investment decisions made by investors and/or shareholders should be based on consideration of the full announcement as a whole and shareholders are encouraged to read the full announcement which is available for viewing on SENS and on the Company’s website set out below. The full announcement is available for inspection at the registered office of Bidvest. Inspection of the full announcement is available to investors at no charge, during normal business hours from 14 September 2020.

Directors: Chairman: BF Mohale Lead independent director: EK Diack Independent non-executive directors: AK Maditse, S Masinga, RD Mokate, MD Ruck, N Siyotula, NW Thomson Executive directors: LP Ralphs (Chief executive), NT Madisa, GC McMahon, MJ Steyn (Finance) Company secretary: I Roux Transfer secretaries: Computershare Investor Services Proprietary Limited: Registration number 2004/003647/07. Rosebank Towers, 15 Biermann Ave, Rosebank, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa. PO Box 61051, Marshalltown, 2107, South Africa. Telephone +27 (11) 370 5000 Telefax +27 (11) 688 7717 Sponsor: Investec Bank Limited: 100 Grayston Drive, Sandown, Sandton, South Africa, 2196 Registered office: Bidvest House, 18 Crescent Drive, Melrose Arch, Melrose, Johannesburg, 2196, South Africa. PO Box 87274, Houghton, Johannesburg, 2041, South Africa.

The Bidvest Group Limited (“Bidvest” or “the Company” or “the Group”) Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa. Registration number: 1946/021180/06. Share code: BVT ISIN: ZAE000117321

Further information regarding the Group can be found on the Bidvest website: www.bidvest.com