The DCC Plc Board has decided to pay an interim dividend of 49.48 pence per share, which represents a 10.0% increase on the prior year interim dividend of 44.98 pence per share. This dividend will be paid on 11 December 2019 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 22 November 2019.
Strong first half performance with Group adjusted operating profit increasing by 14.5% (up 13.7% on a constant currency basis) to £162.6 million, in line with expectations. All divisions recording good profit growth in the seasonally less significant first half of the year.
Adjusted earnings per share up 3.0% to 110.2 pence, reflecting strong earnings growth being offset by the increased number of shares in issue following the equity placing in the prior year.
The Group continues to be active from a development perspective and has today separately announced the recent acquisition by DCC Healthcare of Ion Laboratories Inc, a Florida-based contract manufacturer of nutritional products for an enterprise value of approximately $60 million. The acquisition represents a significant step in DCC Healthcare's strategy to build a material presence in the attractive US health supplements and nutritional products market.
The Group balance sheet at 30 September 2019 remains very strong and liquid, with net debt (excluding lease creditors) of £245.3 million, which will facilitate further development activity for the Group.
Notwithstanding the continuing uncertain macroeconomic outlook impacting the UK economy, and the Technology business in particular, the Group believes that the year ending 31 March 2020 will be another year of good operating profit growth and further development and will be broadly in line with current market consensus expectations.