WH Smith increases interim dividend by 13%

DividendMax Ltd.

WH Smith increases interim dividend by 13%


Total Group profit before tax up 5% to £69m (2012: £66m)

Group profit from trading operations up 4% to £77m (2012: £74m)

o Strong performance from Travel with trading profit1 up 7% to £29m (2012: £27m)

o Further growth from High Street with trading profit1 up 2% to £48m (2012: £47m)

Earnings per share up 11% to 44.2p (2012: 40.0p)

Interim dividend of 9.4p, up 13% on the prior year

Good progress with return of cash to shareholders through on market share buyback programme. As at 10 April, we have purchased 4.2m of shares and returned £28m of cash to shareholders

Strong balance sheet and cash generation

o Strong free cash flow of £58m

o Net cash of £41m as at 28 February 2013

Group total sales down 4% with like-for-like (LFL) sales down 5%

o Travel total sales flat with LFL sales down 4%

o High Street total sales down 6% with LFL sales down 5%

Gross margin improved by 160 basis points

Further progress in Travel's growing international channel with 121 units now open or won, and a further 30 kiosks won in China

High Street delivered cost savings of £9m in the period, with a further £8m identified for the second half, in line with latest guidance; on track for £17m of cost savings for the full year

Commenting on the results, Kate Swann, Group Chief Executive said:

"We have delivered another strong performance across the Group with EPS up 11% and the interim dividend increased by 13%. Both businesses continue to increase profit year on year, despite the challenging economic environment.

"The Group remains highly cash generative enabling us to invest in our businesses and in new opportunities, whilst returning cash to shareholders. So far this financial year, we have returned £28m to shareholders through the share buyback announced in August 2012.

"We expect the trading environment to remain challenging however the business is in good shape and is well positioned for continued growth in both the UK and internationally."

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