Industrial group Bidvest eked out 4.6% growth in full-year trading profit to R6bn, despite what it described as tough trading conditions.

"Exceptional cost discipline and driving down the cost of doing business helped to support growth in most of the businesses that faced deflationary pressure," the company said in the earnings statement released on Monday.

Bidvest’s diverse investment portfolio spans services, freight, automotive, office and print, commercial products, financial services and electrical companies.

Its food services division was spun off into the separately listed Bidcorp, which reported results last week.

Bidvest, a JSE top 40 member, also holds investments in pharmaceuticals group Adcock Ingram, airline operator Comair, Mumbai Airport, as well as a 52% interest in Bidvest Nambia.

Group revenue rose 4% to R71bn in the year to June, with R1.7bn coming from Brandcorp, which Bidvest acquired last year.

Commercial products, electrical, financial services, freight and services contributed positively to the growth in trading profit.

But automotive and office and print trading profits were slightly down, while Bidvest Namibia’s plummeted 71% which the company attributed to difficult macroeconomic conditions in Namibia, which is in recession.

Limited quota allocations, a decline in prices and higher quota buy-in prices affected the profitability of the Bidfish division, which is also based in Nambia.

For the group as a whole, income from investments increased 34.5% to R210.8m, from a year ago.

Headline earnings per share rose 5% to R11.08 and the final dividend per share was up 13.8% to R2.64. However, the total dividend for the year was down 31.2% to 491c, as the first-half dividend was 52.9% lower than the year-earlier period.

Bidvest was founded nearly 30 years ago by businessman Brian Joffe, whose long association with the group ended this month when he resigned from the board.

Bidvest shares were slightly lower in early trading, falling 0.36% to R174.97 at about 9.30am.

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