April 21 Reuters Bunzl is planning to step up acquisitions of smaller businesses, its chief executive said on Wednesday, after revenues were driven higher during the COVID19 pandemic by a surge in demand for masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.
The British firm, which supplies companies with personal protection equipment, cleaning chemicals, disposable tableware and other products, said on Wednesday that revenue for the quarter to March rose 10.4 at constant currency.
The lift from demand for COVID19 related products and from acquisitions offset a 5 fall in sales from the companys other offerings, however, and Bunzl maintained its annual guidance. Shares were down more than 3 at 2,419 pence at 0843 GMT.
Bunzl closed three acquisitions in the first quarter and expects that momentum to continue, Chief Executive Frank van Zanten told Reuters.
We use our cash flow to pay dividends, so we have a lot of capacity for making acquisitions, he said. We turned, last year, more than a 100 of our profits to cash. So Bunzl is really a cash machine.
Van Zanten, who joined the firm in 1994 when Bunzl acquired his familyowned business in the Netherlands, said that post the coronavirus crisis many businesses are likely to go up for sale because of the shocking period they have had to endure.
When you have all your wealth in one area, your family business, that makes you think. I expect that in maybe one or two years time we will see a very strong acceleration of MA activity, the…