- IT products and services group Softcat hiked its divided after it reported a 27% jump in annual profit, though it forecast a flat profit performance in the current year.

Pre-tax profit for the year through July increased to £119.0 million, up from £93.6 million year-on-year, as revenue climbed 7.4% to £1.16 billion.

Softcat declared a full-year dividend of 20.8p per share, up 25% year-on-year, plus a special dividend of 20.5p, up from 7.6p.

The company grew its customer base by 2.3% and its average gross profit per customer by 15%.

It said the new financial year had started 'well', but reiterated that it expected the resumption of business travel and events would create a significant headwind during 2022.

'In the first half, this will be amplified by very strong income comparatives due to the exceptional deals we highlighted in our 2021 first half results,' Softcat said.

'Consequently, operating profit performance in the year ahead will be slightly more weighted towards the second half than in 2021.'

The company was continuing to target double-digit gross profit growth, well ahead of market trend.

'As we maintain high levels of investment in future growth, we expect full year operating profit for 2022 to be in line with the record achieved in 2021.'

'While it is difficult to look too far forward, given the strength of our business, the outlook for the industry and our confidence in our people, we expect to return to strong operating profit growth thereafter.'

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