- Infrastructure developer Hill & Smith reported a 7% rise in first-half profit, hiked its dividend and upgraded its guidance, citing a good recovery in all of its divisions following an easing of lockdowns.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through June increased to £20.8 million, up from £19.5 million year-on-year, as revenue climbed 16% to £354.2 million.

Hill & Smith declared an interim dividend of 12p per share, up 30% year-on-year.

Looking forward, the company said it expected its annual underlying operating profit to be 'slightly ahead' of the top end of the current analyst range.

In the first half, its underlying operating profit rose 59% to £42.5 million.

'We are pleased with the first half trading performance, with revenue and profit ahead of 2020 and 2019 levels,' chief executive Paul Simmons said.

'Longer term, with or without the benefit of additional significant government infrastructure spending, we believe we are well placed to deliver strong profit growth.'

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