Bidvest sees mixed H1

South African conglomerate Bidvest has reported a challenging six months for its Office and Paperplus divisions.

For the half year ended 31 December 2012 Bidvest’s Office division achieved modest revenue improvements – up by 2.9% to R2.2 billion ($242 million) – and Paperplus saw sales rise by 2% to R2 billion. However, both units reported a drop in operating profit; Office operating profit fell by over 7% to R131 million while Paperplus’ operating profit was almost 6% lower at R175 million.

Within the Office division, Bidvest said that Waltons had recovered well and had enjoyed a good back-to-school season. The Technology group was hit by contract delays at Konica Minolta and Océ, but this should help the performance in the second half of the financial year. Losses were reduced in the furniture manufacturing business and the short-term goal is for this unit to break even.

At the Paperplus division, volumes in the stationery wholesale business were lower than expected and Silveray sales dipped, but there was better news from the labelling and packaging business where sales grew strongly, albeit at lower margins.

By Andy Braithwaite

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