Ronnie Frost, chairman, said he expected the improvement in profits to continue in the second half, although the percentage increase would be less given the stronger performance in the same period last time. 'There is no hidden message here. The business is in good shape and performing as well as we had planned. There is still a fair proportion of our activities which have not yet reacted to the end of the recession in the UK.'
An interim dividend of 1.95p, an increase of 15 per cent, is proposed.
Operating profits rose by 37.5 per cent to pounds 41.5m, led by a 34 per cent advance in distribution profits to pounds 23.4m. This included a large contribution from Mordhurst, the German distribution company acquired in a pounds 32m deal at the end of the 1992/3 financial year and not disclosed separately under the FRS3 accounting standard.
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