DS Smith Increases Dividend 32%

LONDON -- Shares in FTSE 250 company DS Smith  (LSE: SMDS  ) rose 3% to 219.80 pence at the time of writing, following the release of the packaging and office product wholesaling business's half-year results.

The company, which specializes in paper and plastic packaging materials and also has recycling and waste management divisions, saw pre-tax profits jump 63% to 106.1 million pounds compared to 65.3 million pounds at the same stage last year. Revenue saw a similar increase, leaping 62% to 1.67 billion pounds against 1.03 billion pounds at the halfway stage in 2011.

In the interims, DS Smith management stated: "In the first half of the financial year we have transformed our ability to serve customers on a pan-European basis. Though markets remain challenging, we are well placed to create further significant value for our investors through the robust performance of our corrugated and plastic packaging businesses, allied to acquisition synergy benefits that are ahead of our initial expectations."

The most keenly anticipated news for shareholders came in the form of a 31.6% increase in the interim dividend, rising to 2.5 pence per share (previously 1.9 pence). Elsewhere, earnings per share shot up 16% to end the first half at 8.8 pence, compared to H1 2011/12's 7.6 pence.

Like many British firms, DS Smith found the turbulent economic times hard-going on its shares, hitting lows of 34 pence at the end of 2008 and even dropping to 33.5 pence in 2009. However, with a strong management team and good business practice, the company rode through the recession and continues its upward trajectory, with the shares now increasing 650% since the dark days of 2008/9. 

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