Bidvest improves BEE credentials

Listed South African services, trading and distribution group Bidvest says its black economic empowerment (BEE) credentials have again improved.

Its latest Empowerdex certificate indicates that the company, which employs 78 000 workers in South Africa alone, has retained its “A” empowerment rating, with improvements in all categories, it said on Tuesday.

“The audit results are extremely encouraging, reflecting significant BEE progress at Bidvest companies across South Africa. The improvements stem from our belief that even greater representivity and closer community alignment are strategic business goals,” said Bidvest chief executive Brian Joffe.

“Bidvest is happy to acknowledge the role of our empowerment partners—the Dinatla consortium—in the achievement of these improvements and looks forward to Dinatla’s continuing involvement following the successful refinancing of its equity stake in the group,” he said.

He added that the group eagerly awaits the finalisation of the Codes of Good Empowerment Practice.

The Empowerdex audit found 41,4% economic BEE ownership and 29,2% effective BEE control, while categorising Bidvest as a category four, good broad-based BEE contributor with unconstrained operational capacity.

The Dinatla BEE consortium effectively owns 15% of Bidvest, and the Public Investment Corporation 13,4%. BEE asset managers control a further 16,6% of Bidvest equity.

Dinatla’s equity stake is at holding company level and covers both the local and offshore operations of Bidvest.
Dinatla recently announced the refinancing of its Bidvest shareholding to ensure the long-term continuation of their successful partnership.

Lionel Jacobs, a member of the Dinatla consortium and the Bidvest board, commented: “We have now achieved pleasing progress for three consecutive years. Our companies measure their progress against the Bidvest scorecard. We will adapt our benchmarks to the codes of good practice when the revised methodology is made known. We do not anticipate any difficulties as the latest audit indicates we are already on the right track.”

Bidvest obtained “A” ratings for BEE ownership, enterprise development and operational capacity.—I-Net Bridge

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