LONDON: Tesco has resumed its dividend for the first time in three years, after reporting a 667 per cent increase in pre-tax profit in the first half of the year.
Profit before tax rose to £562m from £71m this time last year. Operating profit was up 67.4 per cent, from £515m to £885m.
Group sales were up 3.3 per cent to £25.2bn, while UK like-for-likes were in line with expectations, rising 2.2 per cent over the first half.
Revenue rose 3.7 per cent, from £27.3bn to £28.3bn. Earnings per share grew to 5.21p, from 0.42p.
The supermarket has proposed an interim dividend of 1p per share. Shares in the group were up two per cent at the open.
Tesco said the resumption of its dividend after a three year break “reflects improved performance and board confidence”.
The company’s increased optimism comes as it inches closer to clinching its deal with wholesaler Booker, in a £3.7bn acquisition first unveiled in January this year.
It also coincides with the trial of three former Tesco execs who have been charged with fraud and false accounting.
“We are continuing to make strong progress. Sales are up, profits are up, cash generation continues to strengthen and net debt levels are less than half what they were when we started our turnaround three years ago,” said Tesco chief exec Dave Lewis.