February 27, 2017 / 8:37 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Bidvest can tap $1 billion for acquisitions - CEO

(Adds detail, more CEO comment)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 27 (Reuters) - South African trading, services and distribution firm Bidvest has access to $1 billion for acquisitions, its chief executive said on Monday.

Bidvest, which spun off its foodservice division Bidcorp in a $5 billion listing on the JSE last year, has operations in Namibia and investments in India and Britain alongside stakes in various smaller listed and unlisted firms.

“We’d be able to raise $1 billion should we need it, or about 14 billion rand ($1 billion) to 15 billion rand and that has been confirmed by a lot of the bankers,” said Lindsay Ralphs in a conference call to reporters.

The firm has identified acquisition targets outside South Africa in the services and commercial products industries and has met with shareholders and management, he said.

“We have got ample headroom to accommodate expansion opportunities,” Ralphs added.

Bidvest on Monday reported a 4.4 percent rise in half-year profit.

Headline earnings per share increased to 510.3 cents for the 6 months to end-December, from 489 cents in the previous year.

Its shares slipped 1.2 percent to 163 rand. ($1 = 12.9500 rand) (Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia and Louise Heavens)

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