Bunzl plc, the specialist international distribution and services Group, today publishes its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2020.
Strong revenue growth of 9.4%, adjusted operating profit increase of 20.9% and rise in adjusted earnings per share of 26.6%, all at constant exchange rates
28 year track record of consecutive dividend per share growth continues with a 7.0% increase in the final dividend
Continued strong cash conversion of 103%, with net debt to EBITDA(+) of 1.5x times; substantial headroom for growth
Committed acquisition spend of GBP445 million, the second highest in Bunzl's history
Three further highly complementary acquisitions announced today; pipeline active
Repayment of employee-related government assistance and significantly increased charitable donations
Commenting on today's results, Frank van Zanten, Chief Executive Officer of Bunzl, said: 'The past year has presented unparalleled challenges and I would like to express my sincere thanks to the almost 20,000 members of the Bunzl family for their extraordinary hard work and dedication which has ensured we have consistently delivered for our customers. While our historic investment in our supply chains and digital technology was an asset during 2020, it is ultimately our people that have driven our performance.
The pandemic has served to highlight the vital role that Bunzl plays in ensuring supplies of essential products as well as the benefits of our diversification. As a result of our extensive supply chains and our Asia sourcing and auditing operation, we were able to quickly source and deliver significant quantities of quality assured Covid-19 related products, such as gloves and masks. Consequently, we were able to offset the negative impact that restrictions had on many of our customers' businesses, particularly in the foodservice and retail sectors. I am very proud of the role we have played in serving and protecting front line heroes.
Overall in 2021 we expect robust revenue growth over the prior year at constant exchange rates, after excluding larger Covid-19 related orders which we do not expect to repeat. We anticipate that the recovery in sales of other products, as restrictions ease, will broadly offset the decline of smaller Covid-19 related orders, with recent acquisitions making an increasing contribution to the Group's performance. It is part of our proven and consistent strategy to use our strong balance sheet and cash flows to consolidate the fragmented markets we operate in. We committed GBP445 million to acquisitions in 2020, have announced three further acquisitions today and have an active pipeline supported by substantial financial headroom. Looking ahead, we also expect future growth to be supported by enhanced hygiene trends and our differentiated offering of sustainable and responsible solutions.
Since 2004, Bunzl has delivered robust organic growth, committed GBP3.9 billion of cash in acquisitions and returned over GBP1.6 billion to shareholders in dividends. In many ways, the past year has only served to increase my confidence in the long term prospects for Bunzl.'
Alternative performance measure.
Growth at constant exchange rates is calculated by comparing the 2020 results to the 2019 results retranslated at the average exchange rates used for 2020.
The Board is recommending a 2020 final dividend of 38.3p per share. Including the 2020 interim dividend per share of 15.8p the total dividend per share of 54.1p represents a 5.5% increase compared to the 2019 total dividend per share. During 2020, the Board reinstated the previously cancelled 2019 final dividend of 35.8p per share as an additional 2019 interim dividend which was paid in November 2020.
At average exchange rates and based on historical accounting standards, in accordance with Group's external debt covenants, which are unaffected by the adoption of IFRS 16.
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