Bunzl's profit rises on strong growth from acquisitions

Courtney Goldsmith
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More than half of Bunzl's revenue comes from North America
More than half of Bunzl's revenue comes from North America (Source: Bunzl)

Distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl revealed a rise in first-half profit as the company reels in benefits of the weak pound and recent acquisitions.

The figures

In the six months to the end of June, Bunzl said adjusted pre-tax profit rose 18 per cent to £248.3m as reported, or five per cent at constant exchange rates.

Reported revenue increased to £4.1bn, up 20 per cent, or seven per cent at constant exchange rates.

The FTSE 100 company's shares fell 0.9 per cent to 2,311p at the market open.

Why it's interesting

Bunzl, which supplies products including safety gear and packaging materials, benefited from the weak pound in the first half of the year as more than half of its revenue comes from North America.

However, trading in the UK and Ireland was "subdued".

The company said underlying revenue rose 3.7 per cent with help from recent acquisitions. Bunzl has announced eleven acquisitions to date, including its first Chinese firm, HSESF, today. HSESF's aggregate revenue was £24m in 2016, Bunzl said.

Robin Speakman, analyst at Shore Capital Markets, said the Chinese acquisition was a small but "strategically important" deal for the company.

Read more: Bunzl can't wait until Black Friday to spend, spend, spend

What Bunzl said

Frank van Zanten, chief executive of Bunzl, said it was good to see that acquisition activity, an important part of the firm's growth strategy, was increasing in 2017.

With four months of the year remaining, we are already at a record level of annual committed spend of £546m including two larger businesses, being DDS in the US and the proposed acquisition of the Hedis group in France.

Looking forward, we are confident that the prospects for the group are positive and that the company will continue to grow and develop further both organically and through acquisition.

Read more: Bunzl's flashes the cash on workwear firms

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