BSI sees big growth

2008-04-15 00:00

JSE Alt-X listed Pietermaritzburg-based company BSI Steel has announced that it anticipates year-on-year earnings to rise by between 185% and 205%, on the back of higher steel prices and healthy volume growth over the past year.

BSI CEO and chairman William Battershill told The Witness yesterday that the higher net earnings are largely a result of the significant price increases of February and March 2008.

BSI — a stockist, processor, trader and exporter of steel products based in Mkondeni — listed on the JSE’s Alt-X late in October last year.

The group now plans to roll out the establishment of a new R70-million processing and distribution depot in Meyerton, Gauteng.

The depot, situated on a 23-hectare site owned by BSI, will boast a 17 000 square metre under-roof facility aimed at consolidating the group’s Gauteng trading activities.

Battershill noted that the three major demand sectors of the business — the manufacturing, mining and construction sectors — performed relatively well over the past year.

Although the South African manufacturing sector has experienced certain challenges related to the electricity crisis in recent months, Battershill believes that this sector will remain stable, buoyed somewhat by the weaker rand.

He said BSI’s exports prospects are currently strong, on the back of a healthy African mining sector, particularly in the "copper belt" region of Zambia and the southern area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Battershill said these opportunities are related to new green-field mining projects and mine-revamping projects in Africa.

BSI is currently finalising its results for the year ended March 31, 2008 and the company expects an increase of between 20% and 30% on the earnings and earnings per share forecasted at the time of BSI’s listing six months ago.

Meanwhile, BSI has announced several changes in relation to its high-level staff executives.

Grant Mackenzie, BSI executive director and COO, has been appointed as joint CEO of the group.

Battershill will be taking on the executive chairman role exclusively from April 2009, fulfiling a commitment made during the Alt-X listing in October 2007.

Mackenzie, a qualified medical doctor who has been associated with the BSI Group since 1997, will become sole group CEO in April 2009.

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