Source - Alliance News

SSP Group PLC on Tuesday said it has resumed dividend payments after a year of increased revenue and surging profit, and that it expects travel demand to stay resilient.

The London-based operator of travel food and beverage outlets said its pretax profit more than tripled to £88.1 million in the year that ended on September 30, from £25.2 million the year before.

Revenue increased 38% to £3.01 billion from £2.19 billion. SSP said this ‘significant further recovery’ put its revenue ahead of levels achieved before the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenue recovery in the UK & Continental Europe region was however offset by slower recovery in rail travel, with strikes and protests causing ‘significant disruption’.

In light of its overall ‘strong recovery’, SSP announced its resumption of dividend payments, declaring a final dividend of 2.5 pence per share. It had suspended dividend payments in financial 2020, after paying a 6.0p final dividend for financial 2019.

Chief Executive Officer Patrick Coveney said SSP was ‘very pleased’ by this ‘important step’, also commenting: ‘This has been a year of strong financial, operational and strategic progress for SSP...delivering strong like-for-like growth, high levels of new business, a robust margin recovery, and even closer relationships with our clients and brand partners.’

SSP said trading since the end of financial 2023 has remained strong in all its key markets, driven in part by passenger recovery.

Going forward, SSP said it expects demand in the travel sector to remain resilient with ‘near and long-term structural growth’ on the horizon, despite an uncertain political and macroeconomic environment.

The company expects between £3.4 billion and £3.5 billion in the current financial year, showing like-for-like sales growth of between 6% and 10%. SSP said this reflects its ‘expectation of an ongoing recovery in passenger demand as well as increased spend per passenger including year-on-year price increases.’

‘SSP is in very good shape, and we are excited by the opportunities in front of us,’ said Coveney. ‘We are building strong momentum across all areas of the business thanks to...the ongoing support of our clients and brand partners.

‘The commitment of our people, the structural growth in travel demand and the strength of our business model mean we are well-placed to deliver compounding growth and returns in the years to come.’

Shares in SSP Group were trading 4.0% higher at 221.46 pence each on Tuesday morning in London.

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