2017 Interim dividend
I am pleased to announce that, given the encouraging results and strong financial position of the group, the Board is declaring an increase in the interim dividend of 10%. This follows the 17% increase in the total dividend last year and an increase in the dividend of over 100% since 2010, continuing our policy of increasing the dividend provided there is satisfactory growth in profitability.
The increase in the interim dividend recognises that the dividend cover has risen significantly due to the increase in profits of recent years. The Board maintains its view that the level of cover should reduce over the medium term to a level of between 3.5 and 4.0 times. However, the dividend policy will continue to be reviewed in the light of the company's trading performance whilst retaining sufficient cash flow to fund future expansion in terms of both organic growth and acquisitions. The interim dividend of 1.41p per share (2016: 1.28p) will be payable to shareholders on 24 November 2017.