Berendsen, the work-wear and wash-room facilities provider, has reported that trading in the three months to the end of September was in line with expectations, with group underlying revenue up two per cent, although this was down two per cent at the reported level after the impact of currency.
The firm saw a good performance in its Core Growth businesses, with revenue 3% ahead of the same period the previous year on an underlying basis (excluding acquisitions and currency impacts), which was consistent with its first half growth rate.
"We again improved our operating margin and with a lower interest charge, we delivered good growth in adjusted profit before tax," the company said.
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"The trading trends we experienced in the first half of 2012 continued in the third quarter of the year with the performances of the business lines also broadly similar to the first half. In particular, our higher margin Facility business continued to deliver revenue growth in excess of the group average.
"The board continues to expect good year on year progress for the full year 2012."
Free cash flow has been strong during the three month period, and the firm met its objective of converting in excess of 100% of its adjusted profit after tax.
As a result, net debt at September 30th was around £470m, down from £514m at the beginning of the year. The group said its funding position remains "robust" with approximately £800m of private placement notes and facilities, most of which are committed to 2016 and beyond.
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