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Marshalls plans to pay final dividend after returning to growth

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Marshalls PLC (LON:MSLH) said it plans to pay a final dividend for 2020 after sales returned to growth in recent months.


The maker of paving stones reported revenues of GBP469mln for the past year, down 13% on the year before.


Strong demand in the domestic end market has been a key driver of sales into the final months of the year, plus a return to more normal levels of trading in the public sector and commercial end markets, the FTSE 250 company said.


In the six months to end December, domestic revenues rose 9% and the small overseas business was up 18%, but the core Public Sector & Commercial business declined 6%.


Management reported that the commercial order book in rose year-on-year in the fourth quarter.


“Reflecting our increasing market confidence, in 2021 we will commence construction of a flagship dual block plant at our St. Ives manufacturing site, which will be the first facility of this nature in the UK,” Marshalls said, with a significant capital investment of roughly GBP20mln over three years.


After the company skipped its interim payout, broker Shore Capital estimated the final dividend will be “in the region of 4.5p per share”, up from a previous forecast of 2.5p.


This implies a payout ratio of 50% and “signals optimism that earnings recovery will continue into FY21”.

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