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26 Feb 2024
Bunzl plc

Strong 2023 results: record operating margin and successful year for acquisitions

Bunzl plc, the specialist international distribution and services Group, today publishes its annual results for the year ended 31 December 2023.



Financial results








Growth as



at constant







Adjusted operating profit*





Adjusted profit before income tax*





Adjusted earnings per share*





Dividend for the year





Statutory results





Operating profit





Profit before income tax





Basic earnings per share





Highlights include:

  • Revenue declined by 1.9% at constant exchange rates and by 0.4% excluding the UK healthcare disposal; revenue remains significantly ahead of 2019
  • Adjusted operating profit* increased by 6.2% at constant exchange rates, with growth of 7.6% excluding the UK healthcare disposal; reported operating profit rose by 12.5%
  • Operating margin increased from 7.4% to 8.0%
  • Adjusted earnings per share* increased by 2.7% at constant exchange rates; reported basic earnings per share increased by 10.9%
  • Continued strong free cash flow* driven by cash conversion of 96%
  • 31st consecutive year of annual dividend growth; total dividend per share growth of 8.9%
  • 19 acquisitions agreed in 2023, with a committed spend of £468 million; two acquisitions announced today
  • Net debt to EBITDA*of 1.1 times provides substantial headroom for acquisitions and other capital allocation options
  • Maintaining our 2024 profit guidance published in our pre-close statement

Commenting on today’s results, Frank van Zanten, Chief Executive Officer of Bunzl, said:

“I am proud of the Group’s performance during 2023; the efforts of Bunzl colleagues around the world have resulted in a strong profit performance for the Group, underpinned by a record operating margin of 8.0%. Over the year we saw overall good outcomes on tendering activity reflecting the strength of our value-added proposition, including our sustainability expertise and digital capabilities.

We agreed 19 acquisitions in the year, taking our total committed acquisition spend to £1.7 billion over the last four years. Despite the significant acquisition spend, we ended 2023 with a net debt to EBITDA of 1.1 times, providing the Group with substantial capacity to self-fund further acquisitions. Our pipeline remains active, with two additional acquisitions announced today. Firstly, Nisbets, a well-established, high quality, own brand focused omnichannel distributor of catering equipment and consumables that operates in the UK and Ireland, Northern Europe, and Australasia. Secondly, Pamark Group; an anchor acquisition for us in Finland, bringing the total number of countries we operate in to 33. Return on invested capital has remained strong at 15.5%, demonstrating our continued track record of acquisition discipline.

Bunzl’s consistent, compounding model drives both growth and resilience, and the progress we have made in recent years, combined with the strength of our financial position, means that we have a stronger platform than ever to drive market share, consolidate fragmented markets and continue to extend our successful track record for creating long term sustainable value.”

* Alternative performance measure (see Note 2).

◊ Growth at constant exchange rates is calculated by comparing the 2023 results to the 2022 results retranslated at the average exchange rates used for 2023.

† At average exchange rates and based on historical accounting standards, in accordance with the Group’s external debt covenants.

∆ The Board is recommending a 2023 final dividend of 50.1p per share. Including the 2023 interim dividend per share of 18.2p the total dividend per share of 68.3p represents an 8.9% increase compared to the 2022 total dividend per share.

≠ The Group disposed of its UK healthcare business in December 2022.

Annual results for year ended 31 December 2023