Bunzl lifts dividend as buying spree pays off

OUTSOURCER Bunzl yesterday hiked its dividend by seven per cent, as the chief executive hailed its recent buying spree for a jump in revenue.

Revenue increased six per cent to £5.4bn over the year to December, as the FTSE firm added record annualised revenue of more than £500m.

Over the year it made 13 acquisitions, worth around £272m, which saw the firm expand its presence in South America as it moved into Peru, Chile, Argentina and Columbia.

At the start of this year Bunzl snapped up four businesses for around £140m, including Chilean personal protection business Vicsa Safety and its South American subsidiaries.

Bunzl announced another acquisition yesterday, as it said it had bought Australian healthcare company McNeil Surgical Pty, boosting its footprint in the country.

Chief executive Michael Roney told City A.M. the pipeline was looking “promising” so far this year, adding that he was hopeful Bunzl could expand into a new country.

Roney admitted that the macroeconomic outlook was challenging, adding that growth in Continental Europe was still sluggish, although growth in North America, Brazil and Australia this year should be buoyant.

Operating profit over the year rose seven per cent at constant exchange rates, up to £352.4m last year.

The total payout has been set at 28.2p for the year.