Marshalls profit rises, dividend gets a boost
Marshalls posted a jump in full-year profit and revenue on Wednesday as the specialist landscape products group upped its final dividend by 17%.
In the year to the end of December 2017, pre-tax profit rose 13% to £52.1m on revenue of £430.2m, up 8% from 2016. Group revenue includes a £9m contribution from precast concrete manufacturer CPM, which was bought last October. On a like-for-like basis excluding the impact of CPM, revenue was up 6%.
The group attributed the rise in profits to an increase in margins, which rose to 12.4% from 12% in the year, through the optimisation of existing operations and innovation in products as it continues to deliver its 2020 strategy.
Marshalls said CPM has traded strongly since the acquisition and its integration is in line with the group's expectations.
Basic earnings per share increased 14% to 21.52p and the group lifted its final ordinary dividend to 6.80p from 5.80p and its supplementary dividend to 4.0p from 3.0p in 2016.
Net debt stood at £24.3m at the end of December 2017 versus £5.4m in 2016, reflecting the cash outflow of £41.4m relating to the CPM acquisition.
The company said it had a strong start to 2018, with sales up 18% including CPM and 4% higher on an underlying basis.
Chief executive Martyn Coffey said: "The group has again delivered strong profit growth year-on-year. Good progress has been made in the year executing the 2020 Strategy, notably the acquisition of CPM, and the ongoing self-help programme to drive organic growth is progressing well. The underlying drivers have remained positive in our main end markets and our sales and order intake have been strong in the first 2 months of 2018.
"We remain well placed to deliver continued growth and operational profit improvements."