Since the end of the financial year, the Ferguson PLC Directors have proposed a final ordinary dividend of approximately $369 million (166.5 cents per share). The dividend is subject to approval by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting and is therefore not included in the balance sheet as a liability at July 31, 2021.
Dividends are declared in US dollars and paid in both pounds sterling and US dollars. For those shareholders paid in pounds sterling, the exchange rate used to translate the declared value was set in advance of the payment date. As a result of foreign exchange rate movements between these dates, the total amount paid (shown in the Group cash flow statement) may be different to that stated above.
Other financial highlights include:
- Revenue 14.3% ahead of last year with accelerated market share gains.
- Gross margins of 30.6% were 60bps ahead of last year driven primarily by their ability to service their customers while managing price inflation.
- Good cost control ensured strong underlying trading profit delivery of $2,099 million, up $507 million and significantly outpacing revenue growth with profit before tax increasing to $1,891 million.
- Cash generation was solid and the balance sheet remains strong with 0.6x leverage.
- Continued to consolidate their markets, investing $335 million in seven acquisitions.
- $1.4 billion returned to shareholders during the year via dividends and share buy backs.