Oct 18 Booker Group Plc, Britain's
biggest cash-and-carry wholesaler, reported a 13 percent rise in
its first-half profit as demand from caterers and small
retailers held up in unusually wet weather and weak consumer
spending in the UK.
The company's results exclude the operations of Makro, the
money-losing UK business which Booker acquired from German
retailer Metro AG in July.
"As we are uncertain as to the precise date of
consolidation, we expect Makro to have an adverse impact on the
group's operating profit to March 2013 of the order of nil to 10
million pounds," the company said in a statement.
Makro is being treated as a separate investment until UK's
competition regulators give the go-ahead to the deal.
Booker, which runs over 170 branches supplying caterers,
convenience stores, grocers, restaurants and pubs, said revenue
in the second half was ahead of the same period last year.
Pretax profit rose to 51 million pounds ($82.45 million)
from 45 million pounds a year earlier. Revenue increased 3.3
percent to about 1.90 billion pounds.
Total like-for-like sales rose 3.1 percent, with comparable
tobacco sales increasing 1.8 percent.
Like-for-like sales excluding the sale of tobacco grew 3.8
The company raised its interim dividend to 0.38 pence per
share from 0.33 pence a year earlier.
Booker's shares closed at 94.35 pence on the London Stock
Exchange on Wednesday. They have risen 28 percent this year.