Divisional overviews – Electrical
Bidvest Electrical delivered an impressive result for the year, given the difficult and challenging trading environment typified by negative investment sentiment. Trading profit and revenue grew by 10,3% and 5,4%, respectively. The niche, bolt-on acquisitions performed well and delivered good contributions, while adding valuable skills.
- The Voltex Group performed well given the prevailing business context – the building industry remains in a very poor state as evidenced by the job losses, subdued demand, difficulty with payment and limited or poor volumes of infrastructure development work.
- Impressive results were achieved by the Cabstrut, Versalec Cables, Solid State Power and Voltex MV LV (MV LV) businesses.
- The Voltex branch network remains a mainstay of our business.
- While Atlas remained under pressure, its volumes demonstrate that it is an important asset in the Voltex portfolio.
- Waco is set to continue its roll out of innovative new products and solutions.
- Electech Solutions continues to grow significantly.
- Voltex Botswana disappointed, largely due to the inability to find the right people committed to growing the business.
Driving the growth and sustainability of our business is a key focus area, and we are making exciting progress, particularly in the generation, management and metering of energy, where we see good upside potential. The ongoing expansion of our MV LV business, which in a few short years has grown from almost nothing to a significant smart solution business, adds impetus to what we do. The MV LV expansion is assisting us in bringing important technical solutions to our market – one example being the five smart generators for the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg, which is capable of powering much of the facility. The work we are doing at MV LV Solutions distinguishes us and makes a firm mark in our area of activity.
Electech is involved in what we believe to be groundbreaking technology processes, which will continue to add value to Bidvest. Our activities in Electech continues unabated and we are pursuing evolutionary and revolutionary solutions to add to the basket of solutions already available to the market.
Invirotel is another of our innovators, delivering impressive software solutions. Particularly pleasing progress has been made with our Voltex Vending Application and its volumes are set to grow exponentially, specifically where City Power rolls out Voltex smart meters.
In our view, our innovations in energy and other fields, as well as our sustainability are intertwined. In developing our products and solutions, we aim to build for the future by asking ourselves if our activities will grow the business, leave the world in a better place and result in a shared growth model. We are already making a difference and seek to continually improve, distinguish ourselves, and innovate in everything we do.
Smart, young engineering talent has been added to our business, which has improved the diversity of our team’s skills set. In addition we have spent R16 million on training in the year under review, over and above, the work we do with SETAs, providing mentorships, online training portals and educational blogs.
In terms of our procurement, we remain selective as to who we buy from and we continue to support black-owned qualifying small enterprises and emerging micro-enterprises whenever possible. Our principle is to support and grow these enterprises.
Our supplier development continues apace and we are particularly proud of our relationship with JMS Technical Solutions, a 100% black-owned company that prepacks Voltex products.
Our B-BBEE and transformation activities are aimed at changing the dynamics of our business and are being further intensified.
The key challenges ahead include depressed economic conditions, a lack of investment and infrastructure development, and regulatory uncertainty related particularly to mining and energy. We will continue to develop new products and solutions, supplement our businesses with niche activities and bring, where relevant, new products, solutions and innovations to our markets.
Looking ahead we aim to be a better and more complete supplier to our customer base. We are continuing to expand in Africa, particularly in the energy solutions space. To remain relevant, we are adding to the skills we bring to the market and focusing on the systems, processes and other innovations to better serve our customers.
Certain bolt-on acquisitions continue to be assessed, which combined with other opportunities, will ensure growth.
Our brand identity is strong, while our niche activities have boosted our capacity and added to the ability of the Group to sustain itself going forward. The diversified skills set residing in our various operations is unparalleled in the history of our business. These skills, together with our financial ability, we are confident of contributing positively into the future.