South Africa's Bidcorp half-year profit jumps as European business shines

Adds details on earnings and comments

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 21 (Reuters) - South Africa's Bid Corporation (Bidcorp) BIDJ.J reported an 18.6% jump in its half-year earnings on Wednesday, supported by strong performance in its European business, whose revenue and trading profit scaled record levels.

The food services company, spun off from Bidvest BVTJ.J in 2016, said headline earnings per share (HEPS) - the main profit measure in South Africa - rose to 1,152.4 cents in the six-month period ended Dec. 31, from 971.7 cents a year earlier.

Currency volatility also positively impacted the rand-translated HEPS, Bidcorp said.

Net revenue of 113.8 billion rand ($6 billion) rose 24% despite rapidly moderating inflation and softening demand, as many customers became more price-sensitive.

The group's European operations "have had an excellent first half", increasing revenue and trading profits to record levels in a tough and erratic environment. Revenue growth was up 29% at 40.7 billion rand, while trading profit jumped 46.1% to 2.3 billion rand.

The European business navigated energy costs volatility, erratic inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions in both inventory and capital products, Bidcorp said.

"Although cost inflation is decelerating, there are still many lagging impact that will continue to affect us in the short term, the biggest input being labour, which accounts for around two-thirds of the cost base," the company said referring to group performance.

($1 = 18.8729 rand)

(Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Tom Hogue and Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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