Filofax lifts interim dividend by 50%

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FILOFAX, the maker of personal organisers that became a symbol of the 1980s, cheered investors yesterday with a 50 per cent interim dividend rise, writes John Murray.

The group, quoted on the Unlisted Securities Market, pushed profits before tax ahead by a third to pounds 1.3m in the six months to 30 September. Turnover was 34 per cent higher at pounds 8.3m, boosted pounds 375,000 by the purchase of Filofax distributors in Germany and Sweden.

Robin Field, chief executive, said he was delighted that the acquisitions had contributed quickly to the group's performance. It was also benefiting from organic growth of 20 per cent in Britain.

'Growth in this market, which probably has the highest personal organiser penetration in the world, augurs well for the potential of our product elsewhere,' he added.

Progress was strongest on the Continent despite the recession there. That applied both to the four countries where Filofax operated directly and those supplied through independent distributors.

The group would look for further acquisitions. 'There are two categories - distribution companies through which we can roll out our product and other stationery supplies that we can market through our existing network,' he said.

The jump in the interim dividend to 0.75p came despite slightly lower earnings per share of 4p (4.3p). The fall was caused by Filofax's return to paying tax, having exhausted its previous tax losses. The shares rose 1p to 159p.