WH Smith increases 2013 final dividend by 15%

DividendMax Ltd.

WH Smith increases 2013 final dividend by 15%


Total Group profit before tax up 6% to £108m (2012: £102m)

Group profit from trading operations up 4% to £122m (2012: £117m)

o Good performance from Travel with trading profit up 5% to £66m (2012: £63m)

o Further growth from High Street with trading profit up 4% to £56m (2012: £54m)

Earnings per share up 15% to 68.5p (2012: 59.7p restated)

Final dividend proposed of 21.3p, up 15% on the prior year; giving a total ordinary dividend per share of 30.7p, a 14% increase on the prior year

Additional £50m share buyback programme announced today, having completed the £50m share buyback announced in August 2012

Strong cash generation and balance sheet

o Strong free cash flow of £95m

o Net cash of £31m as at 31 August 2013

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

o Travel total sales flat with LFL sales down 4%

o High Street total sales down 7% with LFL sales down 6%

Gross margin improved by 180 basis points

Good progress in Travel's growing international channel with 40 units won this year, taking the total to 1415 units now open or won

Increased target cost savings in High Street to £22m over the next three years


Commenting on the results, Stephen Clarke, Group Chief Executive said:

"We continue to deliver on our strategy with a strong performance and good profit growth in both businesses. Travel increased profit to £66m and in High Street profit increased to £56m. The Group remains highly cash generative enabling us to invest in our businesses and in new opportunities, whilst returning cash to shareholders, including a further £50m share buyback announced today.

"Looking to the year ahead, we continue to plan cautiously in an uncertain environment, however we are a resilient business and are well positioned for continued growth in both the UK and internationally."

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