- Travel location convenience store company SSP Group posted a 26% rise in annual profit and declared a special dividend, as growth in airline passenger volumes boosted sales.

The company also announced that chief executive Kate Swann would stand down at the end of May and be replaced by current UK and Ireland head Simon Smith.

Pre-tax profit for the year through September rose to £182.9m, as revenue climbed 7.8% to £2.56bn.

SSP declared a final dividend of 5.4p per share, bringing the full-year payout to 10.2p, up 26% on-year.

It also said it planned to pay a second special dividend of around £150m, which would be accompanied by a share consolidation.

Like-for-like sales rose 2.8%.

'SSP has delivered another strong performance in 2018,' chief executive Kate Swann said.

'We have continued to expand our global footprint, materially extending our presence in North America, delivering excellent growth in India and entering the important Latin American region with two contracts in Brazil.'

'The new business pipeline is encouraging and underpins our confidence in future growth.'

'The new financial year has started in line with our expectations and, whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets.'

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