10 March 2011 – final results

Solid figures have been released, with profit before tax edging up to £30.4m versus £30.3m in the corresponding 52 weeks in 2009. Adjusted pro-forma diluted EPS came in at 18.1p (52 weeks in 2009: 16.2p) and a final dividend of 7.1p has been declared, taking the total for the year to 10.5p, up from 10.0p the previous year. Net debt fell to £100.8m and the company has flexibility to fund expansions by taking on additional borrowings.

This is undoubtedly a very solid business which is persistently generating plenty of cash. That may well attract a predator at some point. However, with other comapanies trading on less demanding multiples, even the yield of close to 5% may struggle to generate much demand from investors in the meantime and on balance the shares are FAIR VALUE at this level.