Bunzl beats forecasts after acquisition boost

Distributor Bunzl posted an 11 per cent rise in first half pretax profit, ahead of market expectations, benefiting from acquisitions and an improved operating margin.

FTSE-100 listed Bunzl, which supplies carrier bags, take-away boxes and healthcare products, said pre-tax profit rose to 138.8 million pounds, ahead of a company-supplied consensus forecast of £132.8m.

Sales rose by four per cent to £2.4bn and the group's operating margin was up 20 basis points to 6.2 per cent with margin improving across all areas of the business.

"Our resilient business model has delivered improved organic growth and operating margins, while operating results were bolstered by a good level of acquisition activity," Bunzl chief executive Michael Roney said.

"Looking forward, we see additioanl opportunities for continued development both organically and through a promising pipeline of acquisitions which should enable the group to achieve further growth," he added.

The company also said it had made further acquisitions in North America and Europe and said it would sell its British vending business for £30m.