- Distribution and services group Bunzl reinstated its dividend after first-half profit rose by more than a fifth as strong demand for Covid-19 related products in Continental Europe helped boost performance.

For the six months ended 30 June 2020, pre-tax profit rose 22% to £245.4m on-year as revenue grew 6.7% to £4.8bn.

Revenue grew 18.9% in Continental Europe driven by 'demand for Covid-19 related products,' the company said. In North America, which accounts for the bulk of growth, underlying revenue fell 3.9%.

As a result of the better than expected trading performance during the first half of the year, the company decided to reinstate and pay the final dividend of 35.8p and raise its interim dividend by 1.9% to 15.8p.

'Looking forward, although there remains considerable uncertainty, we expect to face challenging trading conditions during the second half of the year,' the company said.

In a separate statement, Bunzl also said it had entered into agreements to acquire MCR Safety, a US based safety business, and a Abco Kovex, a flexible packaging distributor in Ireland.

The acquisition of MCR was expected to be completed at the end of August 2020, while the completion of Abco Kovex was subject to clearance of the transaction by the Irish competition authority.

Story provided by