Severn Trent SVT trumpets “Customers are at the heart of our business” , which no doubt, after all these years of rejection, must come as something of a surprise to those customers. Strange that it has taken all these years for Severn Trent’s management to wake up to the fact and give it such publicity. However, there does, appear to be an ulterior motive for this new found love affair, as there usually is when a company has to dig deep to find justifications for major increases in its dividends over the next few years. And to be fair to Severn Trent makes no bones about it. Customer delivery and strong operational improvements are its sole justifications for a new dividend policy which is upgraded to growth of at least RPI+4%, which will take the proposed 2017/18 dividend to 86.55 pence.
Group turnover rose by 3.7% for the year to 31st March, basic earnings per share were up by 19.9% or 4.9% on a like for like basis, whilst underlying PBIT was up by 4.3%. None of these figures you will note, gets anywhere near to exceeding RPI by 4%.
Cranswick CWK is increasing its final dividend by 19.7% after a year of strong financial and strategic progress. Like for like revenue rose by 12.7% for the year to the end of March whilst adjusted profit before tax and earnings per share rose by17.2% and 17.6% respectively. It made further strong progress in its key export markets, particularly the Far East where revenue rose sharply by 49% and claims it is in excellent shape for the new financial year.
Aveva AVV produced a resilient performance in the face of challenging conditions in the year to the end of March. The final dividend is to be increased to 27p per share making an 11% rise for the year. Profit before tax rose by 60%, although on an adjusted basis this was reduced to 7%, Basic earnings per share were up by 86% or 8% on an adjusted and diluted basis. Recurring revenue rose to 76.9% of total revenue, which on a constant currency basis was down by 3.8%.
Big Yellow Group BYG is increasing its final dividend for the year to the end of March by 10%, making a total increase for the year of 11%. Like for like revenue rose by 6% but adjusted profit before tax and basic earnings per share each fell by 11% and 12%. The company excepts to break through the 80% occupancy level during the summer bringing it nearer to its admittedly long term goal of 85%