Travel caterer SSP serves maiden dividend after booking a profit

 
Kasmira Jefford
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TRAVEL caterer SSP yesterday handed shareholders its maiden dividend since floating on the London stock market last year, as it reported a surge in profits.

SSP, which owns and runs franchises in airports and train stations for retailers including Marks & Spencer, said operating profit rose by 28 per cent to £25.2m in the six months to 31 March. Excluding the impact of currency movements, profits rose 35 per cent.

Total sales rose by 2.6 per cent at constant currencies to £859.2m while like-for-like sales were up three per cent, thanks to new contracts and strong trading in all regions except for parts of Europe such as France, where rail strikes hit sales.

Shares, up nearly 50 per cent since last summer’s float fell by 3.2 per cent, despite the Upper Crust owner declaring its very first interim dividend of 2.1p per share.