Bunzl, the distribution and outsourcing group, saw its stock rise today, buoyed by healthy half-year profits and an upbeat statement by chief executive Frank van Zanten.
The Bunzl share price was 0.75% higher in morning trading in London, a 17.5p rise to 2,347.5p.
The group announced pre-tax profits for the six months to the end of June up 8% on the first half of 2017, at £197.3 million, up from £181.9 million. The interim dividend was 9% higher than a year ago, at 15.2p a share, from 14p.
Big rise in North America revenues
Basic earnings per share were 13% higher, at 45.1p from 40p, and revenue was £4.343.7 million, against £4,119.2 million in the first half of last year. This was 5% higher in a straightforward comparison and up 12% when exchange-rate fluctuations were taken into account.
Broken down geographically, revenue in Bunzl’s largest market, North America, rose from £2.432.6 million to £2,459.6 million, a 10% increase when exchange-rate movements are taken into account. Adjusted operating profit, which disregards write-downs in the value of customer relationships and acquisition-related items, was £140.1 million, against £148.1 million in the first half of 2017, but this becomes a 3% rise once exchange-rate movements are accounted for.
Operating profit is calculated as profit from business operations before interest payments of tax is deducted.
Operating margin in North America, adjusted on the same basis, fell from 6.1% in the first half of last year to 5.7%.