Bunzl maintains winter trading levels

Catering distribution group Bunzl has told shareholders that trading levels have been consistent with its expectations since its last update to the market in October.

The company claims it is on track to grow sales 6% this year at constant exchange rates, due to underlying revenue growth and the positive impact from acquisitions net of the disposal of its UK vending business last year.

It added that group operating margin was unlikely to change from last year.

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The firm predicts that underlying revenue growth for the year will reach 2.5% against the background of a challenging comparative in the second half due to a particularly strong performance in North America last year.

For the first half of 2012, Bunzl made global sales of £2.6 billion and a pre-tax profit of £121m.

The group announced it has also recently refinanced some of its debt facilities by raising $350m (£215m) of fixed interest rate borrowings in the US private placement market with maturities ranging from seven to 11 years at an average interest rate of 3.4%.

$110m (£67m) was drawn earlier this month with the balance due to be drawn in April 2013.

Bunzl has made nine acquisitions this year, with annualised revenues of £210m. Yesterday it announced it has bolstered its business overseas by acquiring McCordick Glove & Safety in Canda and Atlas Health Care in Australia.

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