Bidvest foods spin-off Bidcorp valued at $5 bil in market debut

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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa’s Bidvest listed its food services business as Bid Corporation (Bidcorp) on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange on Monday, with the shares opening trade at 270 rand to value the company at around 90 billion rand ($5 billion).

Bidcorp, which supplies pubs, restaurants and hotels in Europe, South America and Asia, is the largest primary listing on the JSE since Vodacom in 2009, the stock exchange said.

Bidvest, whose business also spans pharmaceuticals, car showrooms and shipping, announced in February it planned to spin off and separately list its food business, its biggest division, in South Africa. It had previously said the business should be separated because its value was not reflected in the company’s share price.

Plans to list the food business in London were abandoned in 2014 and private equity buyout bids for it were rejected three years earlier

The separation will position the food business for a new phase of both internal and acquisitive growth, said Bidcorp Chief Executive Bernard Berson before he opened trading in Johannesburg by blowing a ceremonial kudu horn.

Bidvest shares dropped 68 percent as Bidcorp started trading, settling around 118.42 rand by 1213 GMT to value what remains of Bidvest at around 38 billion rand, while Bidcorp had risen to 280.84 rand.

The listing splits the group into what is more or less a South African corporation in Bidvest and global food player in Bidcorp, Cratos Capital senior trader Ron Klipin told Reuters.

“It’s certainly unlocking some short-term value for Bidvest shareholders,” said Avior Capital Market analyst Mark Hodgson.

($1 = 15.7968 rand)


(Reporting by Zimasa Mpemnyama and TJ Strydom; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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