Conviviality said its adjusted pre-tax profits for the 26 weeks ended 29 October rose 1.7% to £23.3m from the first half of the fiscal 2017, while gross margins fell 0.3% to 12.5% amid increased sales to large national customers. Revenue for the corresponding period rose 9.2% to £836.3m versus H1 FY17 of £765.9m, while gross margin fell 0.3% points to 12.5% versus H1 FY17 of 12.8% due to increased sales to large national account customers in H1 FY18. Adjusted EBITDA rose 1.7% to £23.3m versus H1 FY17: £22.9m, and adjusted profit after tax fell 1.6% to £12.3m versus H1 FY17 of £12.5m. While adjusted fully diluted EPS was down 5.6% to 6.8 pence versus H1 FY17 of 7.2 pence. Profit after tax fell 10.3% to £5.2m H1 FY17 of £5.8m and fully diluted EPS fell 12.1% to 2.9 pence H1 FY17 of 3.3 pence. Net debt fell to £133.3m, down 3.7% from £138.4m (30 October 2016). The interim dividend was increased by 7.1% to 4.5 pence versus H1 FY17 of 4.2 pence. The company also announced strong gains in market share during the period, notching 1,408 new on trade customers, while over 2,400 customers, including 84 national accounts, increased their purchases year on year. Diana Hunter, Chief Executive Officer of Conviviality, said: 'We have made deliberate choices to successfully grow market share and enhance the quality of future earnings by agreeing long term contracts with our larger customers and securing new national account customers.' ' These gains in market share coupled with our continued strong sales demonstrates our competitive advantage, the broad customer base we have developed and the robust nature of Conviviality as the UK's leading drinks wholesaler, distributor and solution provider to our customers.'
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