Halma Lifts Dividend for 34th Consecutive Year

LONDON -- The shares of Halma  (LSE: HLMA  ) gained 3 pence to 505 pence during early trade this morning after the specialist engineer lifted its dividend for the 34th consecutive year.

The FTSE 250 mid-cap announced an annual dividend of 10.43 pence per share, a 7% improvement on the 9.74 pence per share declared during 2012.

The dividend announcement accompanied preliminary figures that showed annual sales gaining 7% to £619 million and adjusted profits before tax advancing 8% to £131 million.

Halma said its progress had been assisted by six acquisitions, with revenues up strongly in the United States and China. The group also reported a strong performance within its medical and process safety division.

Andrew Williamson, Halma's chief executive, said:

During the past year, we have continued to strengthen our business by further increasing investment in our drivers of organic growth -- innovation, people development and international expansion.

Order intake since the start of 2013 has been consistent with our expectations of sustaining year-on-year organic growth and high returns. We remain confident that Halma will make further progress in the year ahead.

Based on today's results, Halma's shares trade on a P/E of 19 and offer a 2% income.

Of course, whether those ratings, today's results -- as well as the superb dividend run -- all combine to make Halma a buy right now is something only you can decide.

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