The interim dividend of 6.2p per share (HY20: 5.8p), an increase of 7%, will be paid on 8 January 2021 to shareholders on the register on 11 December 2020.
Other financial highlights include:
Revenue growth of 17%, driven by strong growth in North America and the inclusion of revenue from eLocal (79% acquired in November 2019 to create a profitable entry to Home Experts in America)
Reductions in statutory profit measures due to the absence of exceptional gains reflected in the prior period (HY20: £7.4m), and higher acquisition-related amortisation of £23.0m (HY20: £16.3m)
Adjusted operating profit growth of 17% despite continued net P&L investment of £7.0m (HY20: £10.3m) in Home Experts and international business development: key drivers were revenue growth, lower marketing costs during the first lockdowns, and the addition of eLocal profits in Home Experts
Adjusted PBT growth of 16%, with growth in adjusted operating profit slightly offset by an increase in the interest expense, as expected, due to the impact of prior year M&A and therefore the higher net debt balance
Financial position remains strong - increase in leverage to 2.0x net debt : EBITDA (HY20: 1.9x) within the Group's target range of 1.0x to 2.0x and in line with normal seasonal profile; c.£480m headroom vs total debt facilities of £1,010m