Connaught ups its dividend as profits increase

Support services group Connaught yesterday said that it had met expectations with a 39 per cent increase in full-year profit and that its expanding order book would provide good future earnings growth.<br /><br />Connaught, which provides property services to owners and occupiers of buildings, posted a pre-tax profit of &pound;42.5m for the year to the end of August, on revenue 19 per cent higher at &pound;660m.<br /><br />The company said it would pay a final dividend of 2.07p per share, giving a total for the year of 3.16p, up 18 per cent on the year before.<br /><br />Connaught said it was benefiting from the economic climate and a drive among companies to cut costs.<br /><br />&ldquo;We provide services which are largely non-discretionary and essential, which have protected us from fluctuations in the economic cycle and government spending,&rdquo; chief executive Mark Davies. <br /><br />&ldquo;It is not sexy stuff we do but it is essential.&rdquo;<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s order book rose eight per cent to &pound;2.8bn.<br /><br />The shares gained two per cent yesterday to close at 435.50p, having lagged the FTSE All Share support services index by around four per cent in the last year.<br />