Halma boosts divi by seven per cent

Safety, health and environmental technology group Halma delivered a six per cent rise in both revenue and profit, prompting the company to increase its interim dividend payment from 3.79p to 4.06p per share.

Safety, health and environmental technology group Halma delivered a six per cent rise in both revenue and profit, prompting the company to increase its interim dividend payment from 3.79p to 4.06p per share.

Revenue for the 26 weeks ended September 29th totalled £298.1m compared to £280.0m in the 26 weeks ended October 1st 2011, while on the same basis adjusted pre-tax profit climbed from £57.5m to £60.8m and adjusted earnings per share rose 5% from 11.75p to 12.34p.

The strongest revenue growth was since in Asia Pacific and Australasia, with revenue up 17% including 32% growth in China. The company reported a good overall revenue performance in developed regions, with the US up 19%, which offset weaker demand in the UK and Europe, where revenue was down by 3% and 6% respectively.

Revenue growth of 6% was seen in Africa, Near and Middle East and the Americas (ex-USA), and as a result the total contribution to the proportion of revenue from outside the UK/Europe/USA increased to 25% of the group total (2011/12: 23%), in line with the group's goal of 30% by 2015.

Andrew Williams, Chief Executive of Halma, said: "Halma made good progress during the period, achieving record revenue and profit and strong returns.

Our focus on building strong positions in markets with sustainable, long-term growth drivers such as Health and Safety regulation, increasing demand for healthcare and the need for life-critical resources (including energy and water) is providing both resilience and opportunities to grow. Order intake continues to be slightly ahead of revenue and Halma remains on track to make further progress in the second half of the year."

During the period the group made three acquisitions and one disposal, and said its acquisition pipeline "remains healthy". As a result of these transactions, net debt increased to £74.1m at the period end compared to £18.7m at March 31st.

Taking acquisitions, disposals and currency rate changes into account, Halma estimates that the underlying organic growth rates at constant currency were as follows: US up 2%, Europe up 0.3% and UK down 2%.

The return on sales edged marginally lower from 20.5% to 20.4%.

Cash and equivalents at the period end totalled £43m, compared to £41.7m the previous year.

The share price dipped 0.12% to 419.08p in opening trading.

NR

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