Booker interim profit up 9%, dividend lifted
FTSE 250 wholesaler Booker, which is currently in the process of being taken over by Tesco, reported a 9% rise in interim pre-tax profit on Thursday as total sales rose but tobacco sales declined.
In the 24 weeks to 8 September, pre-tax profit increased to £88m, with total sales up 2.5% to £2.6bn. Non-tobacco sales were up 7.5% but tobacco sales were down 9% due to changes in legislation.
Meanwhile, like-for-like sales were up 2.7%, with non-tobacco LFL sales up 7.7% and tobacco LFL sales down 8.7%.
Basic earnings per share rose 9% to 4.19p and the company declared an interim dividend of 0.69p per share, up 10%.
In addition, Booker said its non-tobacco revenue in the first four weeks of the current half year is ahead of last year.
Chief executive Charles Wilson said: "Our plans to focus, drive and broaden Booker Group are on track. The competition review of the planned merger with Tesco is progressing. We continue to help our retail, catering and small business customers prosper through improving our choice, prices and service."
Booker said it expects the deal with Tesco, which is currently being investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority, to complete early next year, subject to the necessary shareholder approvals.
At 0935 BST, the shares were up 0.3% to 206p.