StockMarketWire.com - WH Smith has hiked its dividend 8% for the six months to February 2019 amid the company's confidence in its future prospects, the business' strong cash generative nature and the positive full-year outlook.

The dividend for the six months to February 2019 stood at 17.2p, compared to 16p for the same period last year.

"While there is uncertainty in the broader economic and political environment, we have made a good start to the second half of the financial year and the increase in the interim dividend by 8% reflects the Board's confidence in the outcome for the full year," said Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive.

Travel segment profit climbed 7% to £44m over the period while like-for-like revenue was 3% higher at £364m. The positive trend was expected to continue in the second half "slightly ahead of expectations", the company said.

WH Smith also confirmed that it was "on track" to open around 20 new Travel units this year and said it planned to open 15 further new units each year over the following three years.

Further, it said the integration of InMotion, the US airport retailer it purchased in 2017, was progressing well: during the period, it contributed an operating profit of £2m and revenue of £30m.

However, the firm's high street arm continued to struggle, with like-for-like revenue down 2% at £331m and profit slumping 4% to £48m, as expected, but down from 2018's £50m. However, the company said that this still represented one of its best trading results in recent years.










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