- Distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl reported higher profit in the first of the year as an ongoing recovery in its base business, which excludes some of its top selling Covid-related products such as masks, sanitisers, and gloves, boosted performance.

For the six months ended 30 June, pre-tax profit rose 12.3% to £275.7 million year-on-year as revenue increased 0.4% to £4.87 billion.

The North American business, which makes up 59% of total revenue, reported underlying revenue growth of 10.6% driven by continued recovery and product inflation although certain Covid-19 related products started to experience deflation in the second quarter

An interim dividend of 16.2 pence per share was declared, up 2.5% from a year earlier

Looking ahead to the rest of fiscal 2021, the company continued to expect, at constant exchange rates, underlying revenue to be 'moderately higher than the pre-pandemic period in 2019,' the company said.

'Acquisitions will further contribute to growth, with £134 million committed spend year to date, and an active pipeline supported by substantial financial headroom.'

'Looking ahead, we expect future growth to be supported by a recovery in the base business and economic activity, enhanced hygiene trends and our differentiated offering of sustainable and responsible solutions,' it added.

The company also said it had completed the completed the acquisition of Proin Pinilla, an independent safety distributor to end-users in Spain, and Arprosa, which also distributed PPE [Personal Protective Equipment] to end-users in Spain. Story provided by