Heavy equipment manufacturer Bell Equipment has delivered significantly improved results in 2017, with profit rising to R272.1-million, from R38.6-million in 2016 when the company recorded operating losses of R185-million from its African operations outside South Africa.
Revenue increased by 13% to R6.8-billion in 2017, with a stronger rand having offset the benefit of higher sales volumes.
The JSE-listed company said on Friday that its African operations continued to perform poorly owing to relatively low mining activity, but noted that its South African distribution business, as well as its European and North American operations had a better year.
Bell stated that steps towards restructuring its underperforming operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia were under way and that efforts to reduce the significant losses encountered in those countries over the last few years had started to bear fruit.
Moreover, the company anticipated 2018 results to be better than 2017, owing to the improved sentiment in South Africa and an economic revival in most major economies. “Most major equipment markets are expected to see growth this year with global construction and mining machinery markets expected to increase by between 10% and 15%.”
The South African company also reported that it would expand its factory in Germany to cater for greater demand for its core products in the northern hemisphere.
Meanwhile, Leon Goosen will take over as CEO on June 1, replacing Gary Bell who will become nonexecutive chairperson.