Cash-rich Bunzl plans expansion

BUSINESS supplies distributor Bunzl posted an 11 per cent rise in its first-half pre-tax profit yesterday, ahead of market expectations, and said it had over £300m available to expand into new countries through acquisitions.

FTSE100-listed Bunzl, which supplies businesses with products such as carrier bags for supermarkets and bandages for hospitals, said pre-tax profit rose to £138.8m, ahead of the consensus market forecast of £132.8m.

Sales rose four per cent to £2.4bn and the operating margin was up 0.2 percentage points at 6.2 per cent, improving across all areas.