The directors recommend a final dividend of 34.9 pence per share, an increase of 9% from the year ended 30 June 2014. The full dividend will therefore be 56.4 pence per share, an increase of 9% from the year ended 30 June 2014. Subject to approval by shareholders, the final dividend will be paid on 8 October 2015 to shareholders on the register on 13 August 2015. Payment to US ADR holders will be made on 14 October 2015. A dividend reinvestment plan is available to holders of ordinary shares in respect of the final dividend and the plan notice date is 17 September 2015.
The recommended final dividend increase is 9%, in line with the increase in the interim dividend. This rate of increase recognises that while eps has declined, the decline was mainly driven by the impact of exchange movements in a year when free cash flow has improved strongly. Eps to dividend cover at 1.6 times is however now outside management's coverage ratio, and the group will look to rebuild cover over time, maintaining dividend increases at a mid-single digit rate until it is back in range.