- Packaging group Robinson reinstated its dividend after its operating profits increased in the first half, amid a rise in sales and continued improvement in margins.

The company had in Mach decided to scrap its 2019 final dividend, however, citing greater clarity, it has declared an interim dividend for 2020 of 3.5p per share.

The payout was equivalent to the 2018 final dividend of the same amount.

It would be be paid on 30 July to shareholders on the register at 10 July.

'We are pleased to report sales growth of 5% in first half of the year compared with 2019 despite challenging market conditions,' chairman Alan Raleigh said in AGM speech notes.

'Margins have maintained the momentum experienced in the second half of 2019 and operating costs were at a similar level with a consequent increase in operating profits.'

Net debt had reduced to currently £6m from the 2019 year end of £7m, after capital expenditure of £2m.

'The Covid-19 pandemic has presented both challenges and opportunities for the business,' Raleigh said.

'End consumer demand for the products for which we supply packaging has resulted in some ups and down with a net positive effect on sales.'

'We have successfully managed to keep our manufacturing operations safely running through the dedicated efforts of our employees.'

'The pandemic has, however, slowed down progress with selling our surplus properties due to the inability to conclude site inspections during the lockdown and volatility in the UK housing sector.'

'Consequently, we expect delays of at least six months to previously indicated timescales.'

'Whilst the outlook for the year remains uncertain, we are confident the business can prosper, and we continue to explore and develop the opportunities that will emerge.'

At 8:49am: [LON:RBN] Robinson PLC share price was +8p at 95p

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