23 May 2012 – final results
A solid set of figures for 2011/12 has been released. For the year ended 31 March turnover was up 4.1% at £6.68bn (2011: £6.42bn) and adjusted profit before tax was £271.4m (2011: £274.3m), translating into adjusted earnings per share of 40.0p (2011: 41.1p). At the current share price the market capitalisation is only a shade over £1bn, so even though net debt is still £1.84bn (2011: £1.95bn) there is plenty of scope for an uplift in the share price.
Perhaps of most appeal to prospective investors, the full year dividend was lifted by 7.0% from 22.12p to 23.67p. This translates into a yield of almost 11% and with a further increase of 7.0% anticipated this year income seekers must surely be running the rule over the company. We feel that the shares are undervalued and although the level of debt is far from ideal this is a solid business which should be able to manage the borrowings successfully. On balance we rate the shares as a BUY.