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Revitalised Morrisons rewards investors with special dividend

Revitalised Morrisons rewards investors with special dividend

Supermarket giant Morrisons has seen its levels of growth accelerate over the past year, marking its third consecutive year of rising sales.

Morrisons is proposing a special dividend to shareholders of 4.00 pence per share on top of a final dividend of 4.43p. The results have an extra week on the previous year, and the underlying figure on a 52-week basis was up 9.5%.

United Kingdom retailer Morrisons has reported that revenue increased by 5.8% to £17.3 billion past year, with group like-for-like sales up 2.8%.

Excluding fuel, revenue was up 4.4% to GBP13.5 billion, and overall fuel sales rose 11% to GBP3.7 billion.

The firm said its net debt was reduced by £221mln to £973mln, below its £1bn year-end target, although free cashflow fell to £350mln, down from £670mln a year earlier.

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Pre-tax profits at the UK's fourth-largest grocer over the same period rose almost 17 per cent to £380 million, and 9.5 per cent to £374 million on an underlying comparative basis.

While management is now guiding towards £700m in wholesale supply sales before year end, and £1bn in "due course", a continued retreat in the retail contribution to LfLs may see the need for these estimates to be raised further in order to build upon the two years' of growth now enjoyed at the group.

Clive Black, of Morrisons' house broker Shore Capital, said the special dividend reflected "just how far" the business had come under the leadership of its chairman Andy Higginson, chief executive David Potts, and chief financial officer Trevor Strain.

Incremental profit of £24m was delivered from wholesale, services, online and interest in the year, bringing the total achieved so far to £42m of the Potts' £75-125m target.

"We are pleased to be paying shareholders a special dividend of 4p a share, which reflects our good performance so far and confidence for the future".


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