SSP chief Kate Swann, feted as a darling of the City during her WH Smith tenure, on Wednesday gained more stripes in the Square Mile by dishing out a £100 million special dividend.
The caterer, which runs restaurants, bars and stores at airports and rail stations, posted a 38% rise in underlying pre-tax profit to £148 million in the year to 30 September as revenues grew 11.7% to £2.4 billion. Same-store sales edged up 3%.
Busy airports, as well as openings in Seattle, Los Angeles and Boston in America, and tie-ups with celebrity chefs, including Paul Hollywood’s bakery at Euston, lifted earnings.
“I’ve put on weight and that’s entirely down to Paul Hollywood and his salted caramel brownie,” confessed Swann.
SSP reveals a final dividend of 4.9p per share, bringing the full-year dividend to 8p, up 50%.
A special dividend of £100 million will be paid out in spring, alongside an opportunity to snap up more shares.
The shares rose 7% to 649p.