Bidfood United Kingdom
Revenue declined 18,0% to R50,0 billion (2016: R61,0 billion). However, excluding the effects of a strengthening rand, revenue increased 1,9% in constant currency. Trading profit decreased by 9,6% to R1,3 billion (2016: R1,5 billion). Excluding the currency effects profitability was up 12,4%.
Bidfood UK delivered pleasing trading performance underpinned by an excellent fourth quarter. Trading profit was up strongly and exceeded expectations in an economy that achieved only marginal growth. British employment is at record levels, but disposable income is under pressure, driven by higher inflation.
Overall sales growth was constrained by the strategic exit of a number of large, unprofitable contracts. However, free trade volume growth of 8% was achieved.
Margins were well managed and expenses contained, despite rising wages, fuel prices and other overheads. Continued focus was given to overall cost control and reduction of support costs. Cash flow remained robust and investment in the business continued, with fleet vehicle renewal a focus area. Rebranding to Bidfood was warmly received by the market.
In line with the overall growth strategy, the free trade sales mix showed continued improvement with a benefit to total margins. National account margins were well managed while significant new contracts supported fourth quarter volumes.
Own-brand growth was strong across all categories of business.
IT infrastructure was moved in-house and the transfer of data centre hosting to a new service provider was completed. Migration of e-commerce solutions was finalised early in the new period. All IT activity proceeded to plan without business disruption. Ongoing IT cost savings are envisaged.
The specialist focus areas of wine and meat achieved pleasing gains in volume and profit.
Across the wider business, ongoing growth is projected on the back of continued close alignment with Britain's growing free trade sector. Margin management and cost efficiency remain focus areas. We continue to investigate opportunities for acquisitive growth.
Bidfresh results saw good revenue growth with only a small growth in profit largely due to margin issues across the fresh categories. Performance was assisted by the acquisition of R Noone & Son (Noone), a Manchester fresh produce supplier to the catering industry, and Wynne-Williams, a butchery business based in Flint, Wales, both of which performed as expected since the acquisition.
Significant product cost inflation caused by farm gate inflation and adverse exchange movements put pressure on margins across the businesses. Management consciously sacrificed some margin in order to maintain volumes. In addition to margin pressure, significant overhead increases in wages, insurance and IT costs were experienced.
The Seafood businesses experienced pressure on revenue and margin, but recovered well in the final quarter. Salmon prices have been volatile throughout the year with some levelling off in the last quarter. White fish prices have been getting firmer as the year progresses but we should see relief with the new quota season.
The Produce businesses had stable results. Margin pressure early in the year from a poor UK potato harvest, the poor weather in January and February affecting crops in Spain and surrounding areas, and the dramatic shortages in milk solids affecting butter, and more recently cheese, has been offset by strong sales growth.
The Meat businesses had mixed results. Plans are under way to expand capacity, build more unified buying strategies, and exploit the greater business reach across the country.
Logistics performance continued to disappoint, with trading profit well below that of the prior year, though a marginal improvement in sales volumes was achieved. Margins remained under pressure as the number of deliveries for major quick-service-restaurant (QSR) chains fell below expectation. The business exited a major QSR account in the fourth quarter.
Costs relating to handling and storage rose due to weak management. Vehicle leasing costs also moved higher following new investment in the fleet.
In PCL247 Transport, sales and margins also moved lower as the number of routes operated fell by 23%. The Aylesbury dairy became fully operational, but this additional volume could not offset the closure of two other dairy sites. As a consequence of lower activity, Trafford Park distribution centre will be closed, the costs of which have been accrued accordingly.
Logistics remains a non-core activity and management remains committed to finding a viable solution for the future of the business. Underperformance has necessitated further management changes, the benefits of which should stabilise results going forward, in the most cost-effective means necessary.
Significant effort and costs have been expended in resolving the management irregularities that were reported on during the previous financial year. These irregularities remain the subject of ongoing legal processes. As a consequence of a part resolution of these issues, management has impaired the goodwill associated with the PCL247 Transport business by £9 million.
Sustainability is a key area of business focus at Bidfood UK. This is indicated by Bidfood UK, being recognised as the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) Green Wholesaler of the Year for the past four years in a row.
Such acknowledgement comes on the back of dedicated efforts to address all aspects of the business value chain from the sourcing of viable and sustainable food stocks to direct operations, and to our various distribution channels.
|Diesel (litres)||Petrol (litres)||LPG (kg)||LNG (kg)||Biodiesel (litres)|
|38 658 316||828||0||229 522||0|
|2016: 41 575 482||2016: 250||2016: 0||2016: 193 476*||2016: 36 063|
Responsible product sourcing
We continue to drive the "Plate2Planet" website platform that shares sustainability practices to the food wholesale sector. Information, articles and advice on wide ranging issues from ethical sourcing to efficient transportation are freely shared with the public and sector alike.
Having achieved a 95% Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification in Bidfood's own-brand products, the company is now hoping to achieve 100% certification within the year.
Customers demand ethical trading, locally grown products and accredited certification on foodstuffs across all our companies and we are responding by proactively addressing these issues in our supplier contracts.
In conjunction with specialist waste-to-energy company Olleco, Bidfood UK offers free collection of customers' spent-oil, which is then recycled into biodiesel for secondary purposes.
We strive to achieve efficiencies in resource consumption and reduce our overall environmental impact. This is manifest in the reduction of our operational carbon emissions and lower diesel consumption, while increasing our overall revenue in 2017.
Both Bidfood UK and Logistics are active participants in the Climate Change Agreement (CCA), a UK government volunteer programme that sets sector-based greenhouse gas reduction targets in two-year instalments against a 2008 baseline. Numerous of our sites are engaged in the Agreement, with the current phase aiming for an 8,3% carbon reduction target against the baseline year.
Our actual 2017 carbon reduction of 6,9% per employee was awarded with The Planet MarkTM Sustainability Certificate, giving recognition to our commitment of engagement with staff and suppliers to drive environmental improvement, and also recognising our investment in the Eden Project education initiative and contribution to Cool Earth, an environmental charity protecting rainforest degradation in South America, Papua New Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Other notable environmental achievements include reduction in our paper usage by 23%; recycling of over 70% of our waste; and, the transformation of our fleet to the new Euro 6 emission standards.
We are also targeting water reduction of 5% across all our operations.
We take pride in being a fair employer, and an employer of choice, and have achieved a number of notable successes during 2017.
Over 83% of Bidfood's 4 625 employees actively took part in the "Your Voice" employee feedback survey. This surpasses the average of 76% for similar surveys in the UK private sector, and 74% of Bidfood's employees agree with the statement: "I believe our company cares about the environment."
Employee training and, especially, health and safety, continue to be key areas of concern. Significant increases in employee training, learnerships and bursaries were achieved – most of this within Bidfresh.
Across all our companies, lost time injuries decreased from 15 to 7 per 200 000 hours, and no fatalities were recorded during the reporting period.
Community and social support
Our corporate social investment spend has remained constant over the past year.
Bidfresh's CSI activities continue to support local junior football teams, schools, old age homes and hospices.
In addition to directly providing financial assistance to sport, environmental and career coaching charities, Bidfood UK employees are proactively involved in raising funds and providing expertise to numerous causes. Donated hours by staff doubled in 2016, and are ever increasing.
Bidfood UK continues to support the One Foundation in the provision of access to clean water and sanitation projects in Africa by supplying and encouraging customers to purchase "One" bottled water – the profits of which are directed towards the charity.
The One Foundation
Bidfood UK has a proud record of community assistance and work to promote improved environmental practice. When the team commits to a project, progress can be significant. One example is the partnership with The One Foundation, a non-profit that brings clean, safe water to marginalised communities in a bid to break the cycle of "water poverty".
Through this partnership, Bidfood UK is helping to fund water, sanitation and hygiene programmes in some of the world's poorest countries. Work includes the construction and rehabilitation of water points, hand-washing stations and school latrines while assisting public health initiatives and contributing to capacity-building.