Barloworld, the listed international brand management company that yesterday reported a 77 percent jump in headline earnings a share, is poised to establish a foothold in the potentially lucrative Siberian and Chinese markets. In the six months to March, Barloworld increased its shareholding in Pretoria Portland Cement (PPC) from 67.4 percent to 70.1 percent at a cost of R189 million. Tony Phillips, Barloworld’s chief executive, emphasised that the company was not preparing to buy out minority shareholders in PPC, its listed cement and lime subsidiary. Barloworld had indicated previously that if a block of PPC shares came on to the market, from an opportunistic viewpoint, it would probably take them up.
Effective from April 1 this year, it also increased its shareholding in Avis Southern Africa, the previously listed car rental and fleet management company, from 34.7 percent to 100 percent through a buyout of minorities. Phillips said its Caterpillar earth-moving equipment business in Siberia was profitable but the company had expansion plans and was "encouraged by the level of activity in that part of the world". Siberia had coal, oil and natural gas resources plus an enormous quantity of other minerals. Turning to the financial results, Phillips said the continuation of the company’s five-year trend in delivering impressive results was propelled by improved global trading, margin improvements and the benefits of its value-based management philosophy.