Weekly news summary 6th March 2015




Results from Bidvest Group for the half year to the end of December show that the UK foodservice division of the Johannesburg-based concern increased trading profit by 45% to R521.5 million (£29 million) on sales up 24% to R23.9 billion (£1.33 billion).

McKenna Fish

Acquired last year by Bidvest Fresh UK.

In the rest of Europe, foodservice contributed trading profit up 69% to R341 million (£19 million) on sales of R12.7 billion (£700 million) – 27% higher.

The group’s ‘breadth and geographical reach’ in foodservice were expanded with the £95 million purchase of a 60% stake in Gruppo DAC in Italy and a controlling interest in UK chilled specialist business PCL, of Hatfield, Herts.

The board said that in the UK, Bidvest 3663 “exceeded expectations, with strong focus on customer profitability maintained”.

Bidvest Fresh UK was expanded last year with the purchase of McKenna Fish Sales, of Dublin.

Tel: Bidvest UK 020-7493 4733


AF Blakemore & Son has a new managing director, Craig O’Connor (pictured), who will have specific focus on the company’s cash & carry business, which operates from 14 sites.

O’Connor, who joins from Grimsby-based wholesaler DB Ramsden, reports to Sam Wilcox, who will continue in his role as overall md for the company’s wholesale divisions.

Craig O'ConnorO’Connor was appointed Ramsden’s managing director in 2004. He was also that company’s md of Re-Scan Epos Solutions from 2006.

This is his second spell at Blakemore – Landmark Wholesale’s largest member. He previously worked in a variety of roles across the C&C operation between 1984 and 2003.

Commenting on his return, he said: “Blakemore remains a family business with strong values. We are perfectly placed to seize the opportunities that are out there.

“I now want to share my experiences over the past few years, especially in relation to delivered wholesale, on-trade and the utilisation of IT solutions to help improve the overall customer experience.”

Wilcox said: “I am delighted to welcome Craig back to Blakemore and I look forward to working with him once again as the company focuses on its 2020 strategic goals.

“He has a proven track record, with a strong reputation across the wholesale C&C sector for introducing innovative approaches to business.”

O’Connor’s appointment follows that of James Russell as Blakemore Wholesale distribution managing director (Cash & Carry Management last month). He too reports to Wilcox.

Tel: AF Blakemore & Son (01902) 366066 


David Howe, general manager of Bellevue in Edinburgh, and Sajid Mahmood, general manager of Bestway Manchester, scooped the top two awards at the Bestway Performance Awards for the second successive year.

At a ceremony held last night in London, almost 500 guests cheered Howe as he was presented with the ‘Group Overall Manager of the Year’ award and Mahmood as he collected the prize for ‘Group Overall Branch of the Year’.

The Bestway Performance Awards recognise the achievements of Bestway and Batleys staff who excel and drive growth in their respective areas. In addition, two accolades are given to suppliers voted for by Bestway depot staff for their commitment and service to the business. Last night, Heineken UK won ‘Most Innovative Supplier of the Year’, with Barr Soft Drinks claiming the prize for ‘Overall Supplier of the Year’.

A full report will be published in the next issue of Cash & Carry Management.

Bestway Performance Awards 2014 winners

All the winners at the 2014 Bestway Performance Awards.

Roll of Honour

Group Head Office Employee of the Year
Zahir Fazaldin, facilities & property controller

Group Head Office Department of the Year
Digital Department, presented to Jamil Mohammed, digital & e-commerce manager

Group White Pearl Branch of the Year
Bestway Batleys Glasgow, presented to Steve Wilkie, general manager

Group Best-in Branch of the Year
Bestway Aintree, presented to Trupti Patel, general manager

Group Catering Branch of the Year
Batleys Aberdeen, presented to Steven Young, general manager

Group Export Depot of the Year
Bestway Abbey Road, presented to Abdul Shakoor

Group Catering Special Achiever’s Award
Billy Rhind, sales manager, Bestway Batleys Foodservices

Bestway Branch Manager of the Year
Sarbjit Singh Ubhey, general manager, Bestway Leicester

Batleys Branch Manager of the Year
Robbie Reid, general manager, Batleys Newcastle

Group Overall Manager of the Year
David Howe, general manager, Bellevue, Edinburgh

Bestway Branch of the Year
Bestway Swansea, presented to Aizad Durrani, general manager

Batleys Branch of the Year
Batleys Cleveland, presented to Dave Bolam, general manager

Group Overall Branch of the Year
Bestway Manchester, presented to Sajid Mahmood, general manager

Most Innovative Supplier of the Year
Heineken UK, presented to Dan Robinson, Richard Towe and Rob Bazley

Overall Supplier of the Year
Barr Soft Drinks, presented to Jonathan Kemp and Vinnie Liddar

Tel: Bestway Group 020-8453 1234

Published Date: March 6, 2015
Category: Wholesale Industry News