Bidvest buys Viamax for R1bn

Johannesburg - Services group Bidvest Group (BVT) has bought Viamax Holdings - Transnet's fleet management and leasing business - for about R1bn, it was announced on Monday.

The deal, which is part of Transnet's strategy of selling non-core assets to become a focused transport and logistic group, is still subject to approval by the Competition Commission.

"The company will be incorporated into Bidvest's automotive division, McCarthy Limited, and managed and operated by its subsidiary, McCarthy Fleet Services (MFS)," said Brian Joffe, chief executive of Bidvest.

In terms of the acquisition, the company has also secured the exclusive rights to manage Transnet's fleet for the next five years.

"The acquisition of Viamax will give McCarthy Fleet Services the necessary critical mass to make it one of the biggest fleet management operations in the country, with a combined book value of around R1.3bn," Joffe said.

Prospects are promising

The deal takes McCarthy's fleet to more than 10 000 units from passenger cars to heavy commercial vehicles, luxury buses and material handling equipment.

It has also increased McCarthy Fleet Services' operational capacity from three regional offices to 23 around the country, incorporating all of Viamax's regional offices, workshops and personnel, said Brand Pretorius, chief executive of McCarthy Limited.

"The growth prospects for the new enlarged fleet services business are promising and include the ability to meaningfully compete in the management of outsourced state-owned vehicle fleets, as well as the leasing and management of large corporate fleets," he added.

According to Jolyon Nash, executive director at McCarthy responsible for McCarthy Fleet Services, MFS has substantially grown its business to around R320m since its inception two years ago.

"The acquisition of Viamax provided us with the unique opportunity to accelerate our growth and reach economies of scale which would have otherwise taken more than five years to achieve," said Nash.

- I-Net Bridge

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