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Berendsen Increases Dividend By 8%

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LONDON -- Berendsen (LSE: BRSN.L  ) , a mid-cap European textile services specialist, announced pre-tax profits of 39.6 million pounds in its interim report this morning, a 21% rise from 2011's 30.4 million half-time figure. As a result, the interim dividend was pushed up 8%, to 17.1 pence per share.

Management puts this down to a successful strategic review, operating fully since the turn of the year. Elsewhere in the results, revenue dropped off marginally by 2% to 488.2 million pounds (H1 2011: 495.9 million pounds), although underlying growth was up by 2%. Earnings per share increased 33% to 17.1 pence from 12.9 pence at the same stage last year.

The second half of 2012 looks promising, too, as chairman Iain Ferguson said: "We are pleased to report... continued momentum toward achieving our strategic objectives. The board expects first-half trading trends to continue for the balance of 2012, resulting in good year on year progress in line with our expectations."

Berendsen's customers hire it to deal with their textile and hygiene needs, including workwear and washroom facilities. It has exposure to Europe -- 15 countries, with 38% of its sales coming from the U.K., 42% split between Sweden, Germany and Denmark, and 11 other countries dividing the remaining 20% -- but, as Tony Luckett pointed out earlier in the year, most of the eurozone fear will be already priced into its shares.

The company's price-to-earnings ratio of 13 is relatively low and, while it won't set your portfolio on fire, it is doubtful it will burn it to the ground, either. I'm encouraged by its exposure to some of the stronger economies outside of the U.K., much like some of the shares highlighted in The Motley Fool's special free report "The Top Sectors Of 2012". If you'd like to find out the names of these attractive shares, and which sectors they belong to, then you can download the report now, and it will be delivered to your inbox imminently.

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Sam does not own shares in Berendsen. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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