Services, trading and distribution group Bidvest, which recently took a controlling stake in SA’s second-largest drugmaker, Adcock Ingram, said it is eyeing further large-scale investments in SA despite a tough economic environment.

Bidvest, whose brands include Rennies Travel and motor retailer Bidvest McCarthy, said on Monday trading profit for the year to end-June rose 3.5% to R6.7bn, boosted by higher bulk and liquid commodity volumes through SA ports.

Improved margins and capital discipline helped offset a volatile trading environment, the group said, with net asset value per share rising 6.4% to R75.71 during the period, while headline earnings per share grew 9.8% to 1,352.1c.

The group declared a final gross dividend of 318c per share, bringing its total dividend to 600c, a 7.9% increase from the prior comparative period.

Bidvest, which recently upped its stake in Adcock Ingram to 50.1% from 43.3% in July, said on Monday it is eyeing further acquisitions in the next financial year.

“Sufficient headroom exists to continue the group’s strategy of growth in its existing markets, as well as continuing to acquire divisional bolt-on business, and to pursue larger, value-adding opportunities locally,” the company said.

Internationally, the group is targeting expansion in services and commercial products.

Adcock Ingram consolidation within the group was completed at the beginning of August, while the acquisition of fleet-management company Eqstra is expected to be completed by end-2019.