UPDATE 2-South Africa's Bidvest considers London listing for food busines
* Listing would boost unit's funds for growth, says CEO
* Group profit up 11 pct
* Headline EPS at 1,723 cents, against forecast of 1,751 cents (Recasts, adds CEO comment, background)
By Tiisetso Motsoeneng
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 1 (Reuters) - South African conglomerate Bidvest is considering a London stock market listing for its food business to help to fund future growth, the company said after announcing an 11 percent rise in annual profit.
Bidvest's diverse operations from auto showrooms to shipping and office furniture make it South Africa's second-biggest company by sales, but it has long acknowledged the need to separate its food business from the rest of the group because its true value was not fully reflected in its share price.
"Markets are particularly buoyant, money is cheap and there's quite a lot of demand for this particular asset," Bidvest Chief Executive Brian Joffe told reporters in a conference call.
Bidvest, which in 2011 rejected buyout bids for the business on the grounds that they would not have benefited shareholders, said on Monday that a separate listing would unlock value because it is becoming increasingly difficult to fund growth with a South African balance sheet.
Joffe, a renowned dealmaker in South Africa, also said the division is looking at entering the United States through acquisitions but that such deals would put strain on the group's cashflow unless the business can fund itself. Continuación...