Connect adjusted pre-tax profits up

Connect Group reports a solid financial performance for the year to the end of August in line with expectations with good progress on strategic and operational priorities.

Total revenue rose to £1.9bn, up 1.7%. The group said revenue in Smiths News was down 2.4%, slightly better than expected.

Adjusted profit before tax of £60.7m was up 7.4%, benefiting from a full year of Tuffnells, and underpinned by solid performances from both the News & Media and Education & Care divisions.

The group also reports another year of strong cash generation, with free cash flow of £49.6m, up 24.6%.

The final dividend of 6.5p is up 3.2%, making a full year dividend of 9.5p, up 3.3%.

The group also reports good progress on strategic and operational priorities with:

- Continued strong performance of Tuffnells

- Growing scale and capability in Pass My Parcel

- Delivered £7m of business efficiencies across the Group, including £5m in Smiths News

- Invested in operational capability and capacity, particularly in Pass My Parcel and Tuffnells

- Closer collaboration between Smiths News and Tuffnells

Group chief executive Mark Cashmore said: "This has been a year of both strategic and operational progress for Connect Group. Tuffnells has delivered another strong performance, underpinning solid financial results for the Group. In addition, our confidence in the opportunity for us to succeed in the Click & Collect market has been reinforced by the growing scale and capability of Pass My Parcel.

"In 2017, a particular focus will be on accelerating the collaboration between Smiths News and Tuffnells, whilst investing in our organic initiatives to support long-term sustainable profit growth."

At 8:15am: (LON:CNCT) Connect Group PLC share price was +6.38p at 147.38p