Half Year Results Announcement for the six months ended 31 March 2024

   Underlying1 results  Statutory results
Restated2 Restated2
HY 2024 HY 2023 Change HY 2024 HY 2023 Change
Revenue $20.9bn $18.8bn3 11.2%4 $20.7bn $18.7bn 11.2%
Operating profit $1,474m $1,242m3 18.7%3 $1,420m $1,046m 35.8%
Operating margin 7.1% 6.6% 50bps 6.8% 5.6% 120bps
Earnings per share 59.0c 50.4c3 17.1%3 50.4c 43.4c 16.1%
Operating cash flow $1,114m $1,038m 7.3% $1,330m $1,125m 18.2%
Free cash flow $704m $703m 0.1%      
Interim dividend per share 20.7c 17.9c 15.6% 20.7c 17.9c 15.6%

Double-digit organic revenue growth across all regions.

Raising 2024 underlying operating profit growth guidance.

Strong underlying operating profit growth of 18.7%3 delivered through:

  • Balanced organic revenue growth of 11.2% and underlying operating margin up 50bps year on year to 7.1%.

Invested in growth, further refined our portfolio and returned surplus capital to shareholders: 

  • Invested $693m in capex (3.3% of underlying revenue) supporting growth and generating strong returns.
  • Spent $373m on M&A, including the acquisition of HOFMANNs . CH&CO completed in April 2024.
  • Exited four countries during the period and agreed to exit Brazil subject to regulatory approval.
  • Completed half of the $500m share buyback announced in November 2023.

Strategic priorities:

  • Focusing on our core markets; capitalising on significant structural growth opportunities.
  • Investing in capex and strategic in-fill M&A to support future growth through sectorisation and flexible operating models.
  • Nurturing talent and developing leaders to support our long-term growth ambitions.

2024 outlook:

  • Now expect underlying operating profit growth towards 15%5 with organic revenue growth towards 10%.

Statutory results:

  • Revenue increased by 11.2% reflecting the strong trading performance.
  • Operating profit, including charges relating to business acquisitions and reshaping our portfolio which are excluded from underlying operating profit, increased by 35.8% to $1,420m.

Business review

Dominic Blakemore, Group Chief Executive, said: “The Group has delivered a strong set of results, with balanced double-digit organic revenue growth and good underlying operating margin progression across all regions, leading to underlying operating profit growth of 19% on a constant-currency basis.

Europe is building a strong track record of growth, having benefited from investment and best practice sharing. We have completed the acquisitions of HOFMANNs in Germany and CH&CO in the UK and Ireland1 , increasing operational flexibility as well as further strengthening our unique sectorised approach to the market.

Our results are driving strong cash generation which in turn gives us the flexibility to invest capital back in the business through capex and strategic in-fill M&A, to support future growth through sectorisation and flexible operating models, both of which generate excellent returns.

We have continued to refine our portfolio and increase focus on our core markets where we see significant growth opportunities. The Group has built strong competitive advantages over the past few decades which are being replicated across all our regions.

As a result of our strong first-half performance and positive outlook, we are raising guidance for underlying operating profit growth to towards 15%2 for the full year. Beyond 2024, we expect to sustain mid to high single digit organic revenue growth, ongoing margin progression and profit growth ahead of revenue growth. We will continue to reinvest in the business to support future growth, with any surplus capital returned to shareholders, as we maintain our strong track record of delivering long-term, compounding shareholder returns.”

1. Reconciliation of statutory to underlying results can be found in notes 2 (segmental analysis) and 12 (non-GAAP measures) to the consolidated financial statements.

2. With effect from 1 October 2023, the reporting currency of the Group was changed from sterling to US dollars. The results for the six months ended 31 March 2023 have been restated in US dollars.

3. Measured on a constant-currency basis.

4. Organic revenue change. 5. On a constant-currency basis, including announced acquisitions, disposals and exits in 2023 and to date in 2024