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

South Africa’s Bidvest listed its food services business as Bid Corporation (Bidcorp) on the JSE on Monday, with the shares opening trade at R270 to value the company at around R90bn rand (US$5bn.)

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% as Bidcorp started trading, settling around R118.42 by 1213 GMT to value what remains of Bidvest at around R38bn, while Bidcorp had risen to R280.84.

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.