Source - Alliance News

SSP Group PLC on Wednesday said sales are in the past 10 weeks were up more than double against pre-virus levels, as the Upper Crust owner looks towards reinstating its dividend.

The London-based travel food and beverage outlet operator said it expects to re-instate dividend payments with a target payout ratio of between 30% and 40%.

SSP’s last dividend was a 6.0 pence per share final payment for the financial year ended September 2019.

SSP said revenue for the first 10 weeks of the second half of the year ending September 30 was more than double that of the same period in 2019, with improved underlying momentum following the first six weeks.

‘This revenue performance includes the benefit from net contract gains, as we accelerate the mobilisation of our significant pipeline, in addition to price increases compared to the same period in 2019,’ SSP added.

SSP said North America remained its strongest performing region, with revenue also more than double 2019 levels, due to increased domestic travel and the scale of regional net gains.

Revenue in continental Europe and the rest of the world also has increased considerably, ‘driven by a strong performance across our Air business and despite being held back by currency movements and industrial action’.

‘Our strong momentum in extending and renewing contracts as well as winning new business has been maintained in the second half to date,’ the company added.

SSP also said it has completed its acquisition of Midfield Concessions units across six airports, slightly earlier than expected.

The company anticipates revenue for the year to be at the upper end of its predicted range between £2.9 billion and £3.0 billion, up to 37% higher on-year. It expects underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation between around £250 million and £280 million, as much as 97% higher.

‘We are pleased to report that the strong momentum across our business has continued into the second half of the year,’ commented Chief Executive Officer Patrick Coveney.

‘Our acquisition of the Midfield Concessions business in the USA, which includes 40 units across seven airports, has now largely completed, adding to our excitement about the prospects for our North American business.’

Shares in SSP were flat at 257.60 pence in London on Wednesday.

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