- Outsourcing company Bunzl reported a rise in annual profit even as revenue was held back by asset sales and weaker performance in its core North American market.

For the year ended 31 December 2019, pre-tax profit rose 6.8% to £453.3m and revenue was up 2.7% to £9.4bn.

Revenue in North America, which accounted for 59% of total revenue, fell 0.1% to £5.5bn, which the company blamed on lower sales to its largest grocery customer amid price and product specification changes.

Bunzl recommended a final dividend of 35.8p, taking the total dividend for the year to 51.3p, up 2.2% compared to 2018.

The company also said it had made two further acquisitions in Brazil and Denmark.

Medcorp, a distributor of healthcare related products based in Sao Paulo, was acquired at the end of January.

Bunzl had also agreed to purchase ICM, a distributor of personal protection equipment to both end users, including a number operating in the wind energy sector, and redistributors in Denmark.

'Looking forward, although we continue to see challenging trading conditions in many of our markets, our strong competitive position, diversified and resilient businesses and ability to consolidate our fragmented markets further should lead to improved growth at constant exchange rates principally due to the impact of the good level of recent acquisition activity,' Bunzl said.

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