StockMarketWire.com - Diploma raised its interim dividend by 10% after reporting Monday that first-half pre-tax profit rose 8% amid a strong global trading environment.

For the six months to the end of March, profit before tax rose 8% to £35.4m, while revenue rose 8% to £234.9m, compared to the same period a year ago, the firm said.

Adjusted profit before tax increased by 9% to £40.4m, while adjusted earnings per share increased by 12% to 26.7p, reflecting a lower US tax rate.

Adjusted operating margins improved by 10 basis points to 17.3%; in line with last year, the firm said.

The firm added that gross margins in the seals and controls businesses was reduced by strategic pricing initiatives and from the lag in passing on price increases from suppliers.

The interim dividend was increased by 10% to 7.7p per share.

The firm said its pipeline of acquisition opportunities remained healthy and work was underway to bring some of these to completion before the end of the fiscal year.

'Diploma has continued to deliver robust growth in revenues and earnings. During the first half of the year the Group's businesses have taken advantage of the continuing strong global trading environment and delivered a good performance despite currency headwinds,' said Richard Ingram, Diploma's Chief Executive said.

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