accolades at the Bestway Performance Awards
Awards News | Friday 7th March 2014
Almost 500 guests descended on the Marriott, Grosvenor Square last night (6th March) to celebrate the achievements of staff and management of the Bestway Group.
Depot staff, managers, suppliers and head office departmental personnel congregated to toast the successes of the group and also to crown Bestway’s supplier of the Year.
Both Bestway and Batleys were recognised with top honours as David Howe from Bellevue Edinburgh – part of Batleys – walked away with the Overall Manager of the Year for the sterling work he has produced over the past year while Bestway Manchester, under the stewardship of Sajid Mahmood, scooped the coveted Overall Branch of the Year award.
Zameer Choudrey Bestway Group Chief Executive commented: “The Bestway Performance Awards are incredibly important to Bestway as a group. These awards enable us to reward our excellent staff, of whom I am immensely proud, and also allow us the opportunity to showcase to suppliers the talent that will be driving our business in the years ahead. My sincere congratulations go to all the winners and in particular, David and Sajid for the exceptional efforts they and their staff have put in to developing the business in tough trading geographies.”
Younus Sheikh managing director for Bestway added, “As always the judging process was extremely rigorous and our thanks go to all the suppliers for their time in casting their votes. 2013 was again a challenging year and I am confident that we have rewarded some of the most exceptional talent in wholesale and I congratulate all the winners. I would also like to applaud both JTI and Barr Soft Drinks on being awarded Most Innovative Supplier and Best Overall Supplier respectively by Bestway staff.”
Roll of Honour
1. Group Head Office Employee of the Year
Haleem Sadiq from Central Buying Office
2. Group Head Office Department of the Year
Training Department, presented to David Smith, Training & Development Manager
3. Group White Pearl Branch of the Year
Bestway Abbey Road, presented to Mohammed Gulistan, General Manager
4. Group Best-in Branch of the Year
Bestway Southall, presented to David Baker, General Manager
5. Group Catering Branch of the Year
Batleys Cardiff, presented to Marc Rees, General Manager
6. Group Export Depot of the Year
Bestway Barking, presented to Asad Mohammed and Asim Hussain
7. Group Catering Special Achiever’s Award
Steve Irons, Senior Contracts Manager, Bestway Batleys Foodservices
8. Bestway Branch Manager of the Year
Naveed Anwar of Bestway Team Valley, General Manager
9. Batleys Branch Manager of the Year
Dave Bolam of Batleys Cleveland, General Manager
10. Group Overall Manager of the Year
David Howe of Bellevue, Edinburgh, General Manager
11. Bestway Branch of the Year
Bestway Nuneaton, presented to Saqib Naveed, General Manager
12. Batleys Branch of the Year
Batleys Southampton, presented to Anton James, General Manager
13. Group Overall Branch of the Year
Bestway Manchester, presented to Sajid Mahmood, General Manager
14. Most Innovative Supplier of the Year
JTI, presented to Mark Neale and Rupert Hinde
15. Overall Supplier of the Year
Barr Soft Drinks, presented to Vinnie Liddar and Guy Gissing
General News | Monday 10th February 2014
The Bestway Foundation has shown its support for dyslexia sufferers by donating £100,000 to Dyslexia Action.
The charity was the main beneficiary of Bestway’s annual Royal Ascot Charity Race Day in 2013.
On 14th January 2014 Bestway Group Chief Executive Zameer Choudrey organised a special lunch for Dyslexia Action at the Bestway Head Office in Park Royal North West London.
Dyslexia affects around 10 per cent of the UK’s population in one form or another and Zameer Choudrey, Bestway Group’s chief executive officer is hopeful more can be done to help sufferers. “One in five children are effectively excluded from classroom activities due to reading difficulties, often through no fault of their own. All children and adults must be given the best possible support to achieve their goals and Bestway is delighted to support such a worthwhile charity.”
Zameer adds, “The ability to read and count is fundamental to every individual’s growth. If you cannot learn to read, you cannot read to learn. We hope our donation will go some way to help many sufferers realize their full potential.”
Dyslexia Action’s chief executive Kevin Geeson received the cheque on behalf of the charity and was excited with what the donation could achieve. “This massive amount will mean so much to our charity. We raise around £1m annually through fundraising so this donation is a phenomenal amount for a charity such as ourselves. The money will help us develop our work in schools and help teachers, parents and children better understand dyslexia. Bestway’s contribution will also help us invest in research and development so we can provide quicker and better assistance which is extremely important given the technological world in which we all live. This really is a superb gesture on behalf of Bestway and on behalf of the charity; I would like to offer our sincere thanks to Sir Anwar, Zameer and the Bestway board for this wonderful contribution.”
Bestway’s annual Royal Ascot Charity Race Day hosted by Zameer Choudrey is the Group’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility event. Each year over 800 carefully selected guests comprising of foreign dignitaries; diplomats; senior city figures and captains of industry have the privilege of enjoying a relaxing day of racing including exceptional corporate hospitality, a charity auction and tombola to raise funds for national and international charities.
Every year the Group donates around 2.5 per cent of its profits to the Bestway Foundation to support charitable endeavours in the UK and Pakistan. Since 1987, the Group has donated over £13.8 million in the UK alone to fund the Foundation in its charitable activities.
General News | Wednesday 5th February 2014
The Bestway Group has announced its financial results for the year ended 30 June 2013. The Group’s annual turnover increased by 1.2% to £2.52 billion from £2.49 billion in 2012.
Profit before tax for the year ended 30 June 2013 was up 6.6% from £173.2 million in 2012 to £184.6 million. All group businesses continued to be profitable.
Mr Zameer Choudrey, the Group Chief Executive said, “in the past twelve months, the business environment in the UK and globally has faced many challenges. Despite the adverse economic environment the Group has been able to increase profitability and I am pleased to say that the inherent strength of the Group has ensured that all our businesses maintained their respective market shares during the year under review”. Mr Choudrey also said, “Bestway Wholesale continues to be the UK’s largest trade only wholesaler. Our cement operations are still the second largest in Pakistan and United Bank Limited (UBL) remains the second largest private bank in Pakistan”.
Turnover in the wholesale business was £2.34 billion as compared to £2.33 billion in the corresponding period last year. Profit before tax for the year ended 30 June 2013 decreased by 6.9% to £54.3 million from £58.3 million in 2012. The decrease in profit was due to the Group consciously reducing its margins to support its customers, who are facing increased competition from the high street retailers.
The Group has endeavoured to play its role in supporting its customers, i.e. the independents, regardless of their size, due to the firm belief that their success is tied to the company’s own success. Bestway’s mission is “Building Business for the Independents”, offering customers the lowest prices and the widest product range in the wholesale sector.
Mr Choudrey reiterated that whilst the Group’s commitment to the wholesale sector is second to none, it was conscious of the evolving dynamics of the industry. With this in mind, the Group has identified three key focus areas for the business to sustain a robust growth trajectory. These are Foodservice, Digital and Symbol & Club Retailing.
In line with these key focus areas, Bestway Batleys Foodservice was launched in August 2013. This new approach focuses on offering the customers a tailor made solution to their catering needs. To complement its launch, a comprehensive series of promotions under the banner of “Price Hold Guarantee” has been launched where the caterers are guaranteed a fixed price for a 12-week period.
The foodservice business has been successful in winning large scale catering and local government contracts including The City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow and North East Procurement Organization. The foodservice distribution capability has now been extended nationwide.
As part of the second focus area, the business has continued to develop the online offering and consequently, the transactional Bestway and Batleys websites have been successful. Currently web sales average £4 million per week and are growing, and this year a dedicated E-Commerce team has developed a specialist app for customers.
The third pillar of growth is Symbol & Club Retailing. Bestway’s retail clubs are the largest in the UK with a current membership of over 3,500, and Pet retail club membership has now increased to 526. The total turnover of the business’ retail clubs is over £0.5 billion.
November 2013 saw the launch of the My Rewards Scheme aimed towards the Best One members. This unique retailer rebate scheme will help the retailer in increasing their business.
The Group has continued to invest in other aspects of the business, underlined by the investment in its own chilled distribution facility in Coventry, which became operational in October 2012.
Mr Choudrey also announced that the Group had begun to implement the £10 million investment plan, announced in August 2012, to expand its Best Pets division. To this effect, a new site has been developed at Glasgow and the Group is about to considerably enhance its highly successful pet retail club offering, which allows members to enjoy extra promotional offers.
During the period under review Bestway Cement Limited’s (BCL) turnover increased by 12.5% to £177.7 million from £158.0 million in 2012. Operating profit for the year ended 30 June 2013 increased 33.4% to £57.9 million from £43.4 million in 2012. The increase in profit was due to BCL increasing revenue while controlling its cost base.
Construction activity in Pakistan picked up during the year leading to an increase in the demand of cement. Consequently, BCL’s despatches grew 5.8% from 4,192,512 tonnes to 4,437,731 tonnes. As demand in the domestic market increased, it led to an increase in the net retention price.
Despite a decline in overall industry exports, BCL’s export sales increased by 12.6% to 988,366 tonnes in 2013 as compared to 877,934 tonnes in 2012. BCL was able to counter the decrease in exports to Afghanistan (BCL remains the largest exporter of cement to the region), with an increase in exports to India, while also exploring new markets such as South Africa and Mauritius.
BCL reduced its total debt from £105.5 million in 2012 to £48.9 million, a decrease of £56.6 million, resulting in healthier cash flows and lower financial charges. As a result, profit before tax registered an increase of 92.9% from £25.8 million in 2012 to £49.9 million for the year to 30 June 2013.
The increase in profit allowed the company to pay an interim dividend of 20% in April 2013 and a final dividend of 20% in November 2013.
In December 2012, Bestway acquired the EC Certificate of Conformity which will allow exports to the European Community.
In May 2013, the merger of Mustehkam Cement Limited with Bestway Cement Limited was approved and was effective from 31st December 2012.
Bestway Cement is conscious of its environmental responsibilities and, to this effect, invested in additional Chinese boilers to supplement the Waste Heat Recovery Plant at Chakwal. These boilers were successfully commissioned in October 2013.
United Bank Limited’s (UBL) total assets as at 31 December 2012 were $9.89 billion as compared to $8.31 billion for the corresponding period last year, an increase of 19.0%. UBL’s deposit base grew by 18.9% to $7.77 billion for the year to 31 December 2012. UBL’s total advances for the year were $3.97 billion. During the year, UBL declared 85% dividend.
Over the past year, regulatory changes in Pakistan increased the cost of deposits and, coupled with the low interest rate environment, UBL’s net interest income declined. Despite this, UBL’s performance remained flat in PKR terms.
However, due to the continued devaluation of the Rupee against Sterling, the Group’s share of UBL profit before tax has decreased from £96.9 million in 2012 to £84.9 million in 2013, a decrease of 12.5%.
UBL continued to extend its branch network over the year, with 64 new branches in addition to the 100 new branches in the prior year. In the same period, UBL Omni branchless banking inducted over 3,000 new agents.
During the year, a fully owned banking subsidiary was established in Tanzania to extend UBL’s footprint to Africa. The branch was inaugurated by the Vice President of Tanzania and attended by other dignitaries.
UBL was awarded Bank of the Year in Pakistan for 2013 by Banker Magazine for the second year running. The bank was singled out for particular praise as “UBL has been working hard to overcome challenges and push ahead with its own strategy for the local market achieving 35% growth in non-funded income and significant growth in UBL Omni, its branchless banking proposition.”
Awards News | Friday 29th November 2013
Hot on the heels of Bestway winning Depot of the year for our Aintree branch at the Asian Trader Awards last week, the group scooped another brace of awards,
at last night’s prestigious Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) Awards collecting Team of the Year and Young Manager of the Year.
The Nuneaton branch won the coveted Team of the Year and Muhammad Asad wowed judges with his entrepreneurial flair collecting the Young Manager of the Year accolade.
Under the management of Naveed Saqib, the Nuneaton depot has secured three continuous years of sales & profit growth. Its year to date performance is showing sales at 7% and profit at 31% increases year on year.
Asad, manager at Bestway’s Barking Branch, operates in a fiercely competitive part of East London where customers have the choice of many cash & carrys and wholesalers. Asad has increased sales to 15% growth year and has one of the highest online sales in the group.
Congratulations to the management and staff at both depots for the terrific work they have done over the past year.
Awards News | Friday 1st November 2013
Almost 500 guest including retailers, suppliers and Bestway Batleys staff saluted the achievements of independent retailers last night at the 12th annual Retail Development Awards.
The glittering event recognises retailers who are the forefront of convenience retailing and who demonstrate willingness for continual learning. Supported by the biggest names in FMCG, the awards rewarded retailers across the UK with 22 retailers sharing a prize fund of £32,000 and Ishtiaq & Sadia Qureshi of Llanrumney Stores, in Cardiff scooped the title of Bestway Overall Retailer of the Year and the top prize of a massive £10,000.
Speaking at the awards, Bestway’s group chief executive, Zameer Choudrey said: “Bestway and Batleys are proud to recognise the success of those individuals through the Retail Development Awards who have provided outstanding service and support to their local communities in the past twelve months. I congratulate all the winners and runners-up and wish them continued success. We must also remember the hundreds of retailers who will not be rewarded here tonight but have made giant strides in developing their own businesses through listening at the RDA Seminars and taking those learnings back into their businesses.”
The Retail Development seminars run by Bestway as part of the awards have helped more than 4,500 independent retailers to build a more profitable business. Winners are judged on improvements made over the past 12 months in criteria including customer service; the range of goods stocked; Point-of-Sale (POS) materials; sales, including the success of new lines; pricing policy; and store layout.
Ishtiaq Qureshi, Llanrumney Stores, 63 Llanrumney Avenue, Llanrumney Cardiff
Mohammed Hameed, Lightbowne Road Post Office, 190 - 192 Lightbowne Road, Moston,
Anil Mittal, Slip End Superstore, 1 Markygate Road, Luton
Mr Mohammed Issa MBE, 1st Stop 2 Shop, 32 - 38 Fintry Drive, Dundee
Sritharan Vairamuttu & Rahini Sritharan, Amlu's General Store, Pendle Court, Pondhill
Best-One National Winner
Mr Vacaas Ali, Best One, 53 Station Road, Washington
Muneeb Sarwar, RZ Supermarket, Costers Lane, Winyates East, Redditch
Paul and Gail Mather, Sherston Post Office, The Old School, Sherston, Malmesbury
Mr Abdul Rashid, Salina Mini Market, 29 Stevenston Street, New Stevenston
Mr Nayan Amin, Best One, 165 West Street, Dunstable
Chilled & Frozen
Mr and Mrs Cheema, Avenue Food and Wine,179-181 St George’s Avenue, Sheerness, Kent
David Leak, Much Hoole Village Shop, 2 Smithy Lane, Much Hoole, Preston
Household & Health and Beauty
Kiran Patel, Buttershaw Foodstores, 28-30 Reevy Road West, Bradford
Harinder Khela, Khela Food and Wine, 22 Dib Lane, Springfield, Leeds
Muhammad Nadeem, Elves Food City, 126 - 128 Essex Road, London
Crisps & Snacks
Sukhwinder Badhan, Midland News & Post Office, Worcester Road, Wychbold, Droitwich
Zaffar Mahmood, Bestbuy, 2 Darnbrook Way, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough
Santosh Sundaresan, BMP Star Supermarket, 278 - 280 Court Road, London
Wines & Spirits
Kuruparan Suppiah, Hatters News, 22 Chapel Street, Luton
Beer & Cider
Kalpesh Raja, Parker Drive Service Station, 126 Parker Drive, Leicester
Aravinthan Jeyasingam, Ashton Stores, 76 Ashton Road, Luton
Thangarajah Karunakaran, Bungalow Shop, 177 Toddington Road, Luton
General News | Thursday 3rd October 2013
Best-one, the premium symbol offering from the Bestway Group, is announcing a new rebate scheme for retailers on the 1st October 2013.
The My Rewards loyalty programme will reward retailers by reimbursing them for store discipline, promotional compliance and spend through the Bestway Group. The level of rebate will be calculated by the retailer’s total spend with Bestway and Batleys. The spend level relates to all sales through the group, including credit, cash sales in depot, drop shipment and web sales.
Retailers can earn up to 5% ‘cashback’ on their spend and the entry level has been set at £15,000 per month, working out at only £3750 per week. This is the level that is considered the minimum spend for a best-one retailer. Tobacco sales are included as qualifying purchases but attract no credit payment
The programme is open to all current best-one retailers, who are assessed on current spending levels, but best-one also hopes to attract progressive non-affiliates and other symbol retailers into the best-one estate based on the commercial attractiveness of the rebate system. There are a number of rebate tiers, highlighted below:
Examples of potential earnings:
Spends £20,000 per month including tobacco purchases of £8,000:
£20,000 total spend less £8,000 tobacco = £12,000 x 2.50% = £300
Spends £40,000 per month including tobacco purchases of £20,000:
£40,000 total spend less £20,000 tobacco = £20,000 x 4.50% = £900
James Hall, director of Symbol Retailing at Bestway, explains, “We know that My Rewards delivers sector-leading rebates to stores but it is more than just giving retailers a kickback for increased sales, although that is a key part of the scheme. It’s all about helping them become greater retail professionals, allowing them the opportunity to plan for the longer term and giving them the opportunity to compete profitably in the increasingly competitive c-store sector.”
The programme is electronically managed and strictly monitored by each retailer’s dedicated best-one Business Development Executive but retailers have to do more than just buy product. Qualifying retailers have to commit to key disciplines in order to achieve the rebate.
James continues, “At best-one, My Rewards is reinventing the 3Rs - Reward, Retention and Recruitment. My Rewards will repay the great work that our best-one retailers are currently doing within their communities, build loyalty to the best-one brand among our estate and entice other retailers to come and have a look at the best-one concepts. It also shows that after another superb year of trading, where best-one has contributed an additional £154m worth of new business to the group’s sales, we are continuing to invest in the growth of best-one fascia and our retailers.”
Press Release | Wednesday 17th July 2013
Group Chief Executive Zameer Choudrey recently spoke exclusively to HSBC Corporate World - an in house magazine of HSBC Bank targeting its largest corporate clients in the UK.
During the course of the interview Zameer provides a snapshot of the Group's historical evolution and his role as the steward of the Group's global diversification. Zameer also provides his candidate assessment of the challenges being faced by the Wholesale Business in the UK and the opportunities offered in emerging markets such as Pakistan.
To read the interview in full, download the pdf.
General News | Friday 21st June 2013
Bestway Group held its 19th annual charity event at Royal Ascot. The chosen charity this year was Dyslexia Action.
Speaking on the occasion, the Group CEO Zameer Choudrey said, “we selected Dyslexia Action as it shares our values of putting local communities first and foremost”.
Over 800 industry guests enjoyed a full day of racing including a charity auction and tombola to raise funds for this important charity to support its projects such as the Dyslexia Action Learning Fund and Dyslexia Action Online – the development of online accessible support particularly for those from hard to reach and disadvantaged communities.
Sir Anwar Pervez, chairman of Bestway Group is seen here with Anna Tylor from Dyslexia Action, John Francombe and Zameer Choudrey.