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UK's Bunzl raises dividend on higher prices, strong demand

(Reuters) - British business supplies distributor Bunzl raised its annual dividend by 10% on Monday, as profits soared above pre-pandemic levels aided by higher demand and prices of products it sells to the retail, food service and grocery sectors.

The distributor, which supplies a range of products including tableware, plastic cutlery and stationery to businesses spanning across 31 countries, said demand for its low-cost products remained resilient, as businesses look to cut costs amid high inflation.

Earlier this month, Bunzl agreed to new contract terms with Walmart, its largest customer by revenue, to maintain supply distribution services across North America.

The company raised its full-year dividend by 10% to 62.7 pence.

The company's adjusted operating profit for the year ended on Dec. 31 was 37% higher than in 2019 at 885.9 million pounds ($1.06 billion). That was 17.7% higher than a year ago.

Bunzl, which bought Canadian distributor Capital Paper last month, is now set to buy Germany's online distributor Arbeitsschutz-Express, the company said in a separate statement.

($1 = 0.8366 pounds)

(Reporting by Radhika Anilkumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)