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Wm Morrison Supermarkets FY18 Pretax Profit Declines; Proposes Special Dividend

Morrison(Wm.)Supermarkets PLC (MRW.L) on Wednesday reported profit before tax of 320 million pounds for the 52 weeks ended 3 February 2019, down 15.8 percent from 380 million pounds in the previous year. Earnings per share were 10.11 pence, down from 13.03 pence a year ago.

However, profit before tax and exceptionals increased 8.6 percent to 406 million pounds from 374 million pounds last year. Earnings per share before exceptionals were 12.88 pence, compared to 11.94 pence last year.

The company had said earlier that profit before exceptional items will replace underlying profit before tax as a key measure of adjusted profit from the full-year 2018/19 results.

Revenue for the year increased 2.7 percent to 17.74 billion pounds from 17.26 billion pounds last year and was also up 4.7 percent on a 52-week basis after adjusting for last year's 53rd week. Revenue excluding fuel rose 5.1 percent. Group like-for-like sales ex-fuel/ex-VAT was up 4.8 percent for the period.

The company said that the final ordinary dividend will be 4.75 pence, bringing the ordinary dividend for the full year to 6.60 pence.

In addition to the final ordinary dividend, the Board is proposing a further special dividend of 4.00 pence per share, taking the total dividend for the year to 12.60 pence, an increase of 24.9% on last year.

Morrison(Wm.)Supermarkets noted that after progressing its wholesale partnership with McColl's more quickly than initially expected, the company achieved its target of 700 million pounds of annualised wholesale supply sales ahead of its initial end-2018 guidance.

The company expects to begin to supply McColl's remaining nearly 300 convenience stores towards the end of 2019, with some sales benefit likely from the second half. The company said its plan for 1 billion pounds of wholesale supply sales in due course remains unchanged.

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