In line with its promise to operate in the most sustainable way – from an environmental, social and economic perspective – Bidvest company, Konica Minolta South Africa, has been supporting South Africa’s national greening and food gardening social enterprise, Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA), for five years and has most recently planted 2,013 trees at impoverished schools in the Polokwane and Kimberley regions.

This brings the total of trees donated by the company to 17,678 and illustrates its commitment to taking proactive steps against global warming.

According to Konica Minolta South Africa employees, Morne Etchell, Polokwane branch manager and Gerhard Kruger, Kimberley branch manager, FTFA selected nine schools in Polokwane, Limpopo, and 38 in and around Kimberley in the Northern Cape to receive the indigenous and fruit trees.

“Before the trees were planted, the school children were educated on the importance of proper ground preparation, planting techniques and aftercare.  This will ensure that the trees will flourish and will be enjoyed by generations to come.  This complemented the schools’ own teachings on nature and sustainability. Now the trees become the responsibility of the school – but, we will still remain involved, with both the schools and the community,” says Kruger.

“Konica Minolta South Africa employees got thoroughly involved with the planting of the trees along with the schools’ staff and children, and found it to be a greatly rewarding experience,” says Etchell. “The primary purpose of the trees is to provide shade for the school children, to sit and play beneath during the hot summer months, but they also beautify the school and its surroundings.”

The beautification of schools has been linked to improved academic performance.  According to a 2010 study, “Student performance and high school landscapes: Examining the links”, students performed better academically at schools with more nature around it; they were more likely to graduate and less likely to commit a crime.

The partnership with FTFA began in 2008 when Konica Minolta South Africa contributed 4,100 trees to Orange Farm, a large informal settlement located about 45 kilometres from Johannesburg. As a result of the success of the project, and the need to offset more carbon dioxide emissions, Konica Minolta South Africa committed to planting further trees in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Western Cape regions.

So far 11,000 trees have been distributed through FTFA’s Trees for Homes initiative, which is a registered carbon offset programme under the Carbon Protocol of South Africa. The remaining 6,678 trees have been distributed through the Trees for All initiative. By taking travel, electricity and paper usage into account, the FTFA online carbon calculator provides a high level estimation of a company’s annual carbon footprint as well as the number of trees it will take to absorb that amount of carbon.

Adds Alan Griffith, Konica Minolta South Africa MD, “As part of our corporate social investment initiative, we have committed to the FTFA Carbon Offset programme in an effort to further offset our carbon emissions and one of the best ways to do this is by planting trees. This initiative has proven to be so successful, that Konica Minolta South Africa reached ‘carbon neutral’ status last year.  In addition to absorbing carbon dioxide, one of the most important greenhouse gases, these trees provide many other environmental and social benefits such as preventing water runoff and erosion, settling the dust, providing shade and shelter, lessening noise and beautifying neighbourhoods.

“Plus, we know that a few trees planted around a school can boost academic achievement, diminish delinquency, and do so inexpensively. In isolation, it’s not going to solve the problems that plague many of our schools, but planting trees is so simple that it would be senseless to ignore,” he states. 

Makeover from the inside-out

Picture the scene: you’ve overslept by half an hour. Time ticks by as you rush to get dressed but can’t find anything that fits properly (despite the fact that your cupboard is completely overflowing), and anything that does fit is outdated and boring. The good news is that help is at hand, and looking and feeling good is really quite simple. All you need to do is follow a few easy steps.

Believe it or not, it starts from the inside. If you feel good about yourself, chances are you’ll look good too. It all begins with confidence. If you’re happy and confident, others will see it too – so be yourself and focus on your good points instead of wasting your time and energy focusing on your flaws.

Being healthy on the inside has a lot to do with what, and how, you eat. With the right ingredients, you can indulge in all your favourite desserts too – that is in moderation of course. The secret lies in looking for healthier alternatives to use in your cooking, of which there are many. For instance, Canderel Green, a low kilojoule sweetener, sweetened with extracts from the South American Stevia plant, is a useful alternative to sugar, and what’s more, it contains virtually no carbohydrates.  Other healthy substitutions include choosing whole wheat breads and pastas, swapping one whole egg for two egg whites to decrease cholesterol, and using canola or olive oil to replace butter but mimic the flavour.

So, you’ve worked on building a happy and confident attitude and made a few important changes to your diet, now there’s just one thing left to do – get moving. Exercise doesn’t need to take much time; in fact, it’s relatively easy to make a few changes to your everyday routine to keep you fit and healthy.


Starting the day with a walk is good start, even if you park your car in the furthest parking spot to increase the distance you need to walk to reach your destination. Forget about lifts and take the stairs whenever you can, it’s a quick way to get that heart pumping. Don’t be tempted to use your desk job as an excuse. A few buttock clenches will keep you looking firm and toned. Squeeze and release for five seconds and repeat 10 times, three times a day. There’s never a reason to keep still and you will be amazed at how much you can move your body, even when you’re talking on the phone.


The new you is almost ready to go, but you may just want to add a few new items to your wardrobe to complete the picture. Remember that shopping doesn’t have to break the bank. Get an idea of styles you like by reading magazines and browsing the internet, and shop with these in mind. The key to shopping is not to dress for fashion, but to dress for style. Buy classic, quality pieces that best suit your body shape, remembering that true style has nothing to do with shape, so dress to make the most of your good points.


Here’s to your new image. All it takes are a few small changes and the knowledge that it all comes from within.

With increasing workplace injuries and disorders due to bad postures from workstations, ergonomics and wellbeing within the workplace have never been so important. 

With a strong heritage in researching and designing products for the workplace for almost 100 years, Herman Miller has gained insight into what people need around them to make them work more efficiently, collaboratively and comfortably. As the demands placed on both workplace and employees increase, every element of the working environment needs to support the way we work more efficiently. 

The belief at Herman Miller is that it is possible to feel good at work by listening to the human body and understanding the link between comfort, health and productivity. Herman Miller has long led the field in ergonomic design by taking the time to understand working style and resulting health issues in the workplace.

The world renowned furniture company has unveiled a new portfolio of products that is set to keep businesses across South Africa performing at their best by helping their people Thrive in the office. 

Widely regarded as the pioneers in workspace ergonomics, Herman Miller revealed its new Thrive portfolio at showcases in Observatory, Cape Town and Sandton Johannesburg. Thrive brings together years of industry-leading research into how people work and features designs by global experts.


Designs that synchronise with the human body to help employees feel better and work better 

Herman Miller’s Thrive portfolio has been designed to address the pressures put on the individual from the reduction of their personal workspace and the increased role of technology in their day to day activities. 

Broken down into four key categories of seating, technology support, tables and lighting, Thrive combines these elements to promote healthy working.

Firstly, Thrive addresses ergonomic seating needs, through the most innovative office chairs ever produced with trademarked science that allows them to provide optimal support while eliminating pressure points. With iconic designs such as SAYL and Aeron chairs included in the collection. 

Secondly, Thrive offers solutions to help technology fit the user, from monitor arms to dynamic monitor supports, offering a solution to the bad postures that result from the increased use of technology in the workspace. 

Performance tables such as the Everywhere range allow people to switch their posture any time they like. 

The final key element in the Thrive portfolio is the task light. Personalised lights dramatically reduce eyestrain, and support attachments that enable people to tailor their workstation to their own personal needs. 

Rob Keddie, Herman Miller Regional Director – Middle East and Africa, commented, “Back in the 1960s, long before the term ergonomics was widely known, George Nelson designed a stand-up, roll-top desk for our Action Office line because he intuitively understood that he worked better if he was able to stand and move around. 

“This launch in South Africa represents a huge milestone on our journey to aiding businesses to help their people feel supported, comfortable and happy at work. But it is just one step, and at Herman Miller we’ll continue to work with best in class designers and scientists to keep leading the field in developing ergonomic solutions.”  

Herman Miller’s Thrive portfolio of ergonomic furnishings and fittings for the workplace will be available exclusively through All Office showrooms in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  

Herman Miller has a highly trained sales lead ready to conduct bespoke workplace evaluations and ergonomic training with support from the All Office sales team.

Bidvest’s normalised headline earnings per share up


Bidvest results for the half-year to December 31, 2012, reflect an 18,2% rise in normalised headline earnings per share to 725,1 cents while normalised basic earnings per share are 24,5% higher at 724,4 cents. Normalised headline earnings exclude the abnormal profit of R399,1 million on the partial sale of the investment in Mumbai International Airport Private Limited in the comparative period.




§  Normalised headline earnings per share (HEPS) up 18,2% to 725,1 cents

§  Normalised earnings per share (EPS) rise 24,5% to 724,4 cents

§  Final gross cash dividend of 324,0 cents

§  Revenue up 11,9% to R75,4 billion (2011: R67,3 billion)

§  Trading profit 8,3% higher at R3,6 billion

§  Cash generation before working capital up 11,0% at R4,4 billion

§  Bidvest SA increases trading profit 12,8% to R2,0 billion

§  Bidvest Foodservice grows revenue by 16,6% to R40,8 billion

§  Further growth to be pursued in Latin America




Bidvest Chief Executive Brian Joffe reported reasonable trading results for the half-year to December 31, 2012 despite challenging trading conditions in many geographies. He commended management for their focus and commitment.


Normalised HEPS rose 18,2% to 725,1 cents. Normalised EPS rose 24,5% to 724,4 cents. HEPS declined 2,3% to 725,1 cents while basic EPS rose 1,9% to 724,4 cents.


Joffe noted, “In South Africa, lower demand in many industries combined with a customer drive for cheaper cost of services is driving increased competition, some of which is at sub-economic rates. Despite low inflation, cost pressures, particularly those of administered prices, are mounting. Labour unrest in the mining and transport sectors negatively impacted many operations.


“However, overall trading performance in South Africa was good, with excellent results from a number of divisions. Demand in the construction industry and discretionary consumer spending remained weak.”


He said Asia Pacific continues to deliver solid results, but the performance of Angliss Singapore lags those of other businesses. Bidvest Europe’s results reflect resilient performances from most operations other than Deli XL Netherlands, which recorded a small loss. Bidvest Namibia’s trading profit fell by 20,7%, primarily due to a drop in fishing profits after a 25% quota allocation reduction.


Bidvest derived 27% of trading profit from businesses outside Africa. On translation, currency fluctuations impacted Rand results.


Financial performance


Revenue grew 11,9% to R75,4 billion (2011: R67,3 billion). The major growth occurred in Bidvest Europe (R3,3 billion) and Bidvest Asia Pacific (R2,5 billion), which reflects organic and acquisitive growth.


Gross margin dipped slightly, largely due to mix and acquisitions. Some businesses experienced margin pressure. Operating expenses – up 12,7% – were well controlled but influenced by currency effects and the impact of acquisitions.


Trading margin dipped to 4,7% (2011: 4,9%) on higher contributions by lower margin activities and a decline in certain operations.


The group grew trading profit by 8,3% to R3,6 billion (2011: R3,3 billion). Share-based payment costs increased from R41,8 million to R59,6 million following the issue of share options to staff in November 2011.


Associate earnings rose on the normalisation of returns from some Group investments, buoyed by the first-time contribution from Mvelaserve Limited.


Net finance charges fell by R15,6 million to R352,9 million. Net debt increased to R6,2 billion (2011: R5,6 billion).


Joffe noted, “Our financial position remains strong and the group is well-capitalised. Bidvest’s attitude to gearing remains conservative and the group retains adequate borrowing capacity.”


Cash generated by operations before working capital changes rose 11,0% to R4,4 billion (2011: R4,0 billion). The Group utilised working capital of R2,5 billion compared to R1,6 billion in the comparative period, reflecting growth and currency impacts. Inventories were well controlled.




In November 2012, Bidvest announced its intention to make an offer for the shares in Amalgamated Appliance Holdings Limited that it doesn’t already own. Further details of the offer will be provided in a scheme circular. A number of smaller acquisitions were made.




Fitch Ratings upgraded the Group’s national long-term rating to ‘AA(zaf)’ from ‘AA-(zaf)’ following South Africa’s sovereign downgrade. Moody’s continue to rate the Group at with a stable outlook.




Joffe said global economic environments remain volatile and challenging while growth rates remain subdued. Despite environmental factors, management remain focused on delivering stakeholder value.


He added, “We remain true to our decentralised and entrepreneurial business model and significant effort has been directed to ensure the Bidvest culture is reinforced.”


In South Africa, trading conditions are anticipated to remain lacklustre. Divisional teams are focused on organic growth while seeking acquisitive opportunities. Further progress is anticipated in developing the Africa strategy in products-related businesses.


In Europe, further opportunities to add new product ranges and expand local footprints via organic and acquisitive growth remain a focus area. In Asia Pacific, management will pursue innovative, value-adding solutions to enable continued growth in Bidvest’s wholesale model. In developing markets, consolidation opportunities will be aggressively pursued. Management are confident of further organic and acquisitive growth.


Joffe noted, “Management focus remains on maintaining and improving customer service and ongoing cost control … Effort is being directed at operations where performance is below expectations.


“The group has ample capacity to fund growth opportunities. We continue to see organic growth opportunities, which – combined with the acquisitive expansion of our footprint and service offering – bodes well for the group going forward.”




Bidvest declared a final gross cash dividend of 324,0 cents (275,4 cents net of dividend withholding tax, where applicable) per ordinary share for the six months ended December 31 2012.




Bidvest South Africa


The businesses achieved revenue and earnings growth in challenging conditions. Revenue rose 6,0% to R34,1 billion (2011: R32,2 billion). Trading profits increased by 12,8% to R2,0 billion with impressive contributions by Bidvest Automotive (34,9%), Bidvest Services (28,5%) and Bidvest Travel and Aviation (27,1%).



Bidvest Office achieved modest revenue improvements – up 2,9% to R2,2 billion (2011: R2,1 billion) while trading profit dropped 7,4% to R130,7 million (2011: R141,2 million). Expenses were well controlled. Operational performance was mixed. The stationery group recovered following a well executed back-to-school strategy. Technology group results were acceptable, but were impacted by delays in major contract awards at Konica Minolta and Océ. Results at GPT were good in a challenging market. Losses within the furniture business were stemmed. Demand rose significantly at Dauphin and Cecil Nurse. Furniture manufacturing orders are well up.


Bidvest Paperplus had a challenging half-year but grew revenue 2,1% to R2,0 billion (2011: R1,9 billion) on the back of increased sales of packaging products, office supplies and marketing print. Trading profit fell 5,8% to R175,4 million (2011: R186,2 million), impacted by lower export project work, lower than expected wholesale stationery volumes and lower than projected SoluXions product sales. Overall expenses were well controlled. Sales by the Printing and Conversion business rose on a good performance by Silveray Mobeni. Labelling and Packaging achieved good growth, but at lower margins. Revenue was down at the Wholesale Stationery Division. Volumes at Personalisation and Mailing were under pressure with Lithotech Afric Mail experiencing a short-term volume decline. Email Connection benefited from additional contract work and new product offerings, delivering an excellent performance.


Bidvest Services grew revenue by 3,2% to R1,6 billion (2011: R1,5 billion) while trading profit moved 28,5% higher to R121,2 million (2011: R94,3 million). Operating expenditure was well managed and ROFE improved significantly. The Prestige office cleaning business achieved excellent new business growth, but performance was impacted by some contract losses. Magnum’s results were disappointing as additional labour costs impacted guarding while the technology businesses failed to maintain sales momentum. TMS continued its recovery with certain divisions excelling. Top Turf optimised opportunities flowing from increased contract revenue inSouth Africa andMauritius.



Asia Pacific


Bidvest Australia had a good start to the year with sales up 13,1% in local currency. Expenses were well controlled in the face of rising electricity costs and branch relocation expenses. Foodservice division put in another good performance, despite margin pressure. Hospitality had a poor six months. A restructure is under way to align the business more closely with the Foodservice branch network. Fresh did well on the back of a major contract success. National expansion is being pursued. Logistics also performed at better levels, though volumes remain lacklustre. Bidvest New Zealand put in another good performance with the Foodservice, Fresh, Logistics and Butchery divisions all up on prior year. Angliss Singapore made continued progress with the strategic move from commodities-based trading to direct sales to end-customers. Sales volumes are lower, but higher margins and more acceptable and sustainable profits are anticipated. Angliss Greater China achieved continued strong growth. Hong Kong and Macau benefited from a late surge in sales. Further expansion of the branch footprint in mainland China is under way.


Latin America


Deli Meals in Chile, acquired in November 2011, continues to grow. The business has doubled sales since acquisition and an import programme has been set up. We continue to actively pursue further growth in Latin America.




3663 Wholesale in the UK put in a strong sales performance, with free-trade volumes significantly higher. Severe margin pressures in the overall market remain. The business continued to invest to ensure its infrastructure delivers the required efficiencies. Sales at Bidvest Logistics were above budget and a record number of cartons of product were transported.Bidvest Fresh UK (incorporating Seafood Holdings and the newly acquired Oliver Kay fresh produce business) performed very well. Overall, the London Olympics had a minimal impact on UK businesses. Deli XL Netherlands had a difficult first half, generating a small trading loss in a shrinking market. Deli XL Belgium grew sales, assisted by the first contribution of a newly acquired horeca wholesaler. The Belgian institutional market is under the same pressure as the Dutch. Bidvest Czech Republic & Slovakia grew revenue and profit despite a tough retail market. Expansion into speciality meat products continues to gain momentum. In Slovakia, retail sales were boosted by the Frost acquisition in 2011 and growing ice-cream volumes.Bidvest Baltics saw continued foodservice gains, but retail volumes and other sales declined, according to plan. Farutex Poland grew sales in a declining economy, but trading profit was below expectation. Horeca Dubai achieved continued sales gains and has opened a distribution centre in Abu Dhabi. The Al Diyafa joint-venture in Saudi Arabia performed very strongly.


Southern Africa


Bidvest Food Southern Africa achieved solid sales growth on the back of good volumes at the ingredients business. Margins were under pressure at all companies. Expense savings were achieved thanks to Bidvest Foodservice (BFS) multi-temp mergers, the integration of NCP Yeast into Bidvest Bakery Solutions and rationalisation at Patleys.


National accounts were under pressure at BFS. Investment continued in the BFS multi-temp fleet and facilities. TheA&SCapebusiness was integrated into the multi-temp airport facility while the Caternet business was integrated into Lou’s wholesale facilities. InDurban, the Chipkins Catering Supplies business was merged into the BFS Durban multi-temp facility.


CFG gained market share in the supermarket and independent account channel. The NCP Durban plant rationalisation began in October 2012 with the merging of the industrial and consumer businesses into Bidvest Bakery Supplies and Patleys respectively. The world class Innovation, Design and Technology Centre was launched at Crown in Cape Town. The So Good Foods wet plant was commissioned to enhance production capabilities. Patleys returned to profit following restructuring.


Bidvest Namibia


Though results were down on the prior period, overall performance exceeded expectation. Revenue rose 34,0% to NAD1,7 billion (2011: NAD1,3 billion) while trading profit fell 20,7% to NAD249,3 million (2011: NAD314,4 million). Fishing division results were impacted by a 25% reduction in quota allocation, lower catch efficiencies, high quota purchase costs and a weak performance at Pesca Fresca in Angola. Fleet efficiencies were undermined by foreign operator pressure. Overall results at Commercial and Industrial Services were below expectation. The freight, logistics, marine services and material handling businesses were impacted by a decline in port activities. Results in the Food and Distribution Services division were disappointing.


Bidvest Corporate


Bidvest Properties acquired new premises for Voltex in Alrode and a new site was earmarked for Seaworld Bloemfontein. At Ontime Automotive, Vehicle Transportation returned to profit and Parking Solutions continued to make modest gains, but overall results were impacted by further losses at Rescue & Recovery.



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