LONDON (Alliance News) - Distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl PLC Tuesday raised its interim dividend by 10% after posting an uptick in profit for the first half of the year, boosted by organic growth and recent acquisitions.
Bunzl said it traded against a background of "mixed macroeconomic conditions" in the first half of 2014, with continued challenging market conditions in some of its sectors, but said it improved profitability in all its business areas.
"Significant adverse currency translation movements held back the reported growth rates at actual exchange rates by between 8% and 9%," the company said.
Bunzl reported a pretax profit of GBP132.3 million for the six months to June 30, up 2.2% on a reported basis from GBP129.4 million in the first half of 2013.
Revenue in the first half came in at GBP2.94 billion, compared with GBP2.96 billion a year earlier - down 1% on a reported basis but up 7% at constant exchange rates, Bunzl said, buoyed by organic growth and acquisitions.
Revenue and profit growth was strong in Bunzl's Rest of the World Region, followed by good growth in the UK and Ireland and North America. Continental Europe also improved profitability in the period, it said.
The FTSE 100 company raised its interim dividend by 10% to 11.0 pence per share, and gave a confident outlook for the remainder of the year.
"The impact of our recent acquisition activity combined with the continued development of the underlying business should lead to further growth at constant exchange rates in the second half of the year," said Chief Executive Michael Roney in a statement.
In a separate statement, the company said it has made four new acquisitions in the UK, with an aggregate annualised revenue of GBP34.8 million.
The company acquired 365 Healthcare Ltd at the end of June, a Droitwich-based business which distributes mainly its own brand healthcare products.
In July, Bunzl bought Cheltenham-based cleaning and hygiene supplies distribution business, The Premiere Polish Company Ltd, as well as two other safety businesses, Lee Brother Bilston Ltd and Guardsman Ltd.
Bunzl said it has spent a total of GBP119 million on acquisitions in the year to date, and expects to complete a number of further acquisitions before the year end.