Bunzl targets companies for takeover

Distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl said yesterday it traded in line with expectations in the third quarter and is in talks with possible acquisition targets. <br /><br />The firm said in a trading update sales rose eight per cent in the three months to the end of September, boosted by favourable foreign exchange movements.<br /><br />Although core sales fell one per cent, that was an improvement on growth in the first half, due to a better performance in continental Europe. Bunzl&rsquo;s profit margins also improved, reflecting cost reduction initiatives and foreign exchange benefits.<br /><br />&ldquo;While acquisitions remain a key component of Bunzl&rsquo;s strategy and discussions continue with a number of potential targets, the difference in the company&rsquo;s price expectations and those of prospective sellers continues to be an impediment to finalising transactions,&rdquo; it said. Panmure Gordon analyst Paul Jones was impressed with the update, saying he expected &ldquo;more of the same&rdquo;.