“Our people are the lifeblood of our
business and the reason for a strong
performance in a weak economy.”


Bidvest Electrical is one of the country’s most respected distribution and specialised electrical solutions and supply companies.

In addition to the wholesale outlets that trade under the Voltex name, a number of specialised divisions cement the Bidvest Electrical reputation as a pre-eminent provider of electrical solutions. Each business is a leader in its field.

Atlas is a stockist and distributor of large mains, bells, communication, overhead cables and general wires, Cabstrut is a leader in cable management, strut and related systems and Invirotel Energy Management is a provider of smart energy management systems. Phambili is an exclusive distributor of Weidmuller connectivity and interface products. Voltex Lighting is a specialist in the design and distribution of lighting applications while Voltex Lighting Structures is a manufacturer of high-mast poles and lighting solutions. Voltex LSis holds the sole agency for LS Industrial Systems, part of the LG Group, Voltex MV/LV provides tailormade solutions for LV/MV specialised generators, panels and switchgear and Voltex Smart Solutions is the leading manufacturer of lighting poles and acrylic post top lighting fixtures. Solid State Power is a leading supplier of solar geysers and provider of energy-efficient lighting for commercial purposes, while Waco is a national distributor to other electrical wholesale and Waco-R supplies most leading retail groups with DIY electrical products.

We are also the biggest employer in our space.


We have one of the youngest management teams in the division’s history. Succession planning has been in place for several years and results are increasingly evident. Compared to previous years, we are now more representative of the nation we serve and the development of women is a priority.

Our regional and general managers are largely in their 30s and early 40s and are self-motivated goal setters. We are our industry’s preferred employer as talent development is built into our business model.


We have scale, but our vision is driven by real people, quality and customer orientation. We want to be and remain the stockist of choice for all users of electrical products. This vision is unchanged. However, it has taken on a broader, more strategic dimension as we are increasingly positioned as a provider of smart energy and related solutions.

To maintain our marketplace position, we add value and innovate as solution finders in the energy and related spaces. This is facilitated by national reach, our ability to customise solutions, product knowledge, procurement efficiency and our innovative niche products.

Value add depends on skilled people. They are the lifeblood of our business and the reason for a strong performance in a weak economy.


Focus has always been a feature of our business. Focus has tightened, however, in the area of strategic value add. In 2016, we concentrated on ways of assisting customers by ensuring specialist expertise backed by substantial, nationally available resources. Several bolt-on acquisitions were finalised. These specialist manufacturing businesses strengthen our position in niche areas with growth potential.


The energy sector is critical to national growth. Developing black entrepreneurs who can make a key contribution in this area is clearly an important aspect of national policy. The division therefore gives increasing attention to the potential for strategic partnerships that could assist black SMMEs.

In 2016, an enterprise development breakthrough was achieved when we assisted a start-up entrepreneur in the creation of a 100% black-owned packaging and assembly business. Assured volumes created the basis for the business, but injection of Bidvest’s entrepreneurial spirit became a key feature of the project. By year-end, the business was self-sustaining. Further growth opportunities are being explored.

People development is continuous. Training spend rose to R13,3 million (2015: R12,9 million).


Though the business continues to grow, we retain the small business belief in hands-on management. We are big on accountability; short on red tape. Customers and suppliers still get straight through to decision makers.

The Bidvest values of entrepreneurship and local autonomy continue to define who we are and how we run the business. Owner managers who joined us following recent acquisitions find it easy to buy into our entrepreneurial culture.


Infrastructure development and construction remained at a low ebb. Mining remained under pressure. Electrical contractors were severely affected. Many contractors saw their cash flow eroded and were severely impacted by slow payment. Insolvencies and business rescue compounded business risks.

Contribution to Group
trading profit


  • Continued growth was achieved and employment levels were maintained.
  • Revenue rose 2,3% to R5,4 billion (2015: R5,3 billion). Trading profit rose 4,1% to R317 million (2015: R305 million). Cash flow remained robust.
  • Lighting Structures, the high-mast lighting manufacturer acquired in 2015, made its first full-year contribution. Branded goods agency Phambili, another 2015 bolt-on, bedded down well.
  • Specialised Electrical Accessories (SEA), a maker of electrical accessories, wall boxes, poly-saddles and injection mouldings, was acquired, as was Voltex Steel Processing (VSP), a light and medium specialised electrical product manufacturer. SEA adds specialist capacity while VSP creates assured, quality sustainable supplies for Cabstrut.
  • As a City Power-endorsed vendor, the division launched online electricity sales into the Johannesburg market. The app driving the process was developed in-house. Our website and e-commerce platform were further refined.


Continued profit growth is projected.

In recent years, growth has been achieved despite stalled infrastructure development. However, recent elections put the spotlight on the need to deliver better housing and other facilities. We are well placed to participate in any roll out of promised improvements.

Continued improvement in asset management will be sought following the refinement of stock management programmes.

We will also pursue further enterprise development opportunities.