As announced on 27 March 2020, the Board deferred the decision on the amount and timing of the 2019 final dividend to protect the Company until the impact of COVID-19 on the business became clearer. The robust performance and cash position of the Company means that the Board has now decided to pay the equivalent of the 2019 final dividend of 53p per share as an interim dividend on 21 September 2020 to shareholders on the register on 7 September 2020.
The Board has also declared a further interim dividend for 2020 of 25p per share (2019: 25p per share) which will be paid on 11 December 2020 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 27 November 2020.
Clarksons has paid a growing dividend for 17 consecutive years and it is the Board's intention to continue its long-held progressive dividend policy at the full year, should the Company continue to perform strongly.
Other financial highlights include:
Robust first half performance
Particularly strong trading in the Broking division
Underlying profit before taxation of £21.1m (2019: £20.1m)
Underlying earnings per share of 51.4p (2019: 48.5p)
Robust balance sheet, with £88.8m of free cash resources (31 December 2019: £68.7m)