· Successful and differentiated business model
o Return on sales margin +120 bps
o Good organic volume growth(2) of 3.2%
o Excellent cost recovery reflects business mix and strength of business model
o Growth from FMCG and e-commerce leadership
o US acquisition fully integrated and delivering well ahead of acquisition case
· Strong balance sheet
o Increase in cash flow from operating activities from continuing operations
o Net debt / EBITDA(6) (excluding rights issue proceeds) fallen to 2.1x
o Refinancing complete - new long-term facility
o Plastics strategic review making good progress
· Europac acquisition completion expected around calendar year end
o Reported performance to Q3 2018 in line with expectations
o Integration planning well advanced
· Compelling commercial differentiation and structural drivers for growth
o E-commerce, sustainable packaging, dynamic retail changes
o DS Smith innovation-led solutions for multinational customers
· Good momentum into H2
"We are very pleased with the progress we have made over the last six months. We have strong momentum in the market, delivering good top line growth and substantially increased profit levels. We continue to win market share through our strong FMCG presence and our leadership in both e-commerce and sustainable packaging. DS Smith is extremely well positioned to capitalise on these ongoing growth trends and we are confident about the future prospects for the business."
The Board considers the dividend to be an important component of shareholder returns. In considering dividends the Board will be mindful of the Group's leverage, earnings growth potential and future expansion plans. As first set out in December 2010, our policy is that dividends will be progressive and, in the medium term, dividend cover should be on average 2.0x to 2.5x through the cycle.
The Board declares an interim dividend for this half year of 5.2 pence per share (H1 2017/18: 4.6 pence per share). This represents an increase of 14%, demonstrating the confidence of the Board in the outlook for the Group. The dividend will be paid on 1 May 2019 to ordinary shareholders on the register at the close of business on 5 April 2019.
https://www.investegate.co.uk/smith--ds ... 00045981J/