The Board considers the dividend to be an important component of shareholder returns. In considering dividends the Board will be mindful of the Group's leverage, earnings growth potential and future expansion plans. As first set out in December 2010, our policy is that dividends will be progressive and, in the medium term, dividend cover should be on average 2.0x to 2.5x through the cycle.
The Board declares an interim dividend for this half year of 4.6 pence per share (H1 2015/16: 4.0 pence per share). This represents an increase of 15%, demonstrating the confidence of the Board in the outlook for the Group and the considerable volatility in the sterling exchange rate in the half year. The dividend will be paid on 2 May 2017 to ordinary shareholders on the register at the close of business on 7 April 2017.