Dart Group announces an increased interim dividend of 3.0p per share
The declared interim dividend of 3.0p per share (2018: 2.8p) will be paid out of the Company's available distributable reserves on 3 February 2020, to shareholders on the register at 27 December 2019. In accordance with IAS 1, dividends are recorded only when paid and are shown as a movement in equity rather than as a charge to the Income Statement.
Other financial highlights include:
Group operating profit increased by 3% to £365.0m (2018: £354.4m) and Group profit before foreign exchange revaluation and taxation increased by 3% to £349.8m (2018: £340.2m).
The modest increase in overall Group profitability reflected a later customer booking pattern in their Leisure Travel business, with customer demand strengthening throughout the summer season.
As is typical for the business, losses are still to be expected in the second half, as they continue to invest in readiness for further flying programme expansion at several of their UK operating bases in the summer 2020 season.
Pleasingly, profitability in their Distribution & Logistics business grew by 23% to £2.7m (2018: £2.2m), as the strategy of generating margin-enhancing new business opportunities plus improved operational effectiveness paid dividends.
With Leisure Travel bookings continuing to strengthen and notwithstanding the important post-Christmas booking period that is still to come, the Board now expects current market expectations for Group profit before FX revaluation and taxation for the year ending 31 March 2020 to be significantly exceeded.
Looking further ahead, whether the currently encouraging consumer demand for their products remains buoyant in the medium term is unclear, as they believe that much will depend on the UK Government securing a pragmatic and balanced Brexit agreement with the EU. In addition, the Travel industry in general continues to be subject to a range of cost pressures in relation to fuel, foreign exchange, carbon and other operating charges. These, together with the necessary continued investment in their own products and operations, including that required to attract and retain colleagues, are headwinds that their Leisure Travel business faces.
Their strategy for the long term remains consistent - to grow both their flight-only and package holiday products. With their Customer focused approach and clear market positioning, they continue to have confidence in the resilience of both their Leisure Travel and Distribution & Logistics businesses.
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