The Ricardo plc Board has declared a 4% increase in the interim dividend to 6.24p per share (HY 2018/19: 6.00p), reflecting the growth in HY 2019/20 underlying profit before tax and the Board's confidence in the prospects of the Group. The dividend will be paid on 6 April 2020 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 13 March 2020.
Other financial highlights include:
Order intake and revenue both up 3% on HY 2018/19 to £208.6m and £192.9m, respectively;
Underlying profit before tax ('PBT') up 5% to £16.0m on HY 2018/19;
Strong growth in Energy & Environment ('E&E') and Defense, together with our newly acquired Rail and E&E businesses in Australia, has more than offset continuing pressures in the global automotive sector;
Acquired businesses have been integrated and are performing well;
Good order intake at £208.6m, compared to £201.9m in HY 2018/19;
Order book increased to £319.4m, up £5.6m on June 2019;
Net debt at £73.8m (June 2019: £47.4m) predominantly reflecting purchase of the Detroit facility and the acquisition of PLC Consulting. Underlying cash conversion of 80.8%; and
Full year outlook impacted by further automotive slowdown and Coronavirus.