(Adds CEO, analyst comments, share movement)
By Esha Vaish
Feb 27 Distribution group Bunzl Plc
expects its U.S. business to see an uplift from President Donald
Trump's plan to encourage businesses to manufacture more
locally, the British firm's head told Reuters.
Chief Executive Frank van Zanten said the company would see
higher organic sales of its safety gear for builders and other
firms if Trump made good on his plans to back infrastructure
projects and encourage firms to move manufacturing back to the
"If Trump is bringing industry back to the U.S., we will end
up selling more gloves and boots and safety products," he said,
adding that the United States accounts for about 60 percent of
The company, which also supplies packaging materials for
supermarkets, said it was "well positioned" for 2017, after
reporting a better-than-expected 2016 profit that made the
company's stock the top FTSE bluechip gainer on Monday.
Bunzl's adjusted pretax profit rose 16 percent to 478.2
million pounds ($594 million) in the year ended Dec. 31, ahead
of the 470.6 million pounds estimated in a company-compiled
Revenue grew 14 percent to 7.43 billion pounds, as recent
acquisitions offset some weakness in organic growth over the
year. Organic revenue was up 0.3 percent in 2016.
The company has spent billions buying small firms since
2004, even as 2016 organic growth was tempered by price
deflation in some of Bunzl's plastic products and some negative
impact on its safety equipment business from a slump in the oil
and gas activity.
CEO Zanten, who sees acquisitions in the United States and
the UK continuing, said the company had seen a pickup in organic
growth in the fourth quarter, winning some new business in both
"We're more confident about organic growth right now,"
Zanten said, adding that the UK business was performing well,
having recovered from some pressure seen in the aftermath of
Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
Morningstar analyst Michael Field forecast organic growth
rate of about 2.5 percent for 2017, saying Bunzl should see some
benefits as "short-term headwinds abate".
The company's shares were up 2.5 percent at 2,2,26 pence at
($1 = 0.81 pounds)
(Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha
Gayathri and Maju Samuel)