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Rentokil scraps final dividend

BRITISH services group Rentokil Initial Plc said yesterday that full-year profits had halved and scrapped its final dividend to preserve cash as it waits for a turnaround plan to deliver results in the teeth of a recession, sending its shares lower.

The group, whose businesses include rat catching, washroom cleaning and parcel delivery, said underlying pretax profit fell 49 percent to 107.9 million pounds (US$153.4 million) in 2008.

That was slightly ahead of the company's outlook issued in November, but down from 211.4 million pounds in 2007.

Revenue in the year 2008 increased 9.4 percent to 2.41 billion pounds.

Chief Executive Alan Brown, who along with Chairman John McAdam was brought into the group last year and devised a three-year turnaround plan, said that although Rentokil had financial headroom in excess of 200 million pounds it had decided against paying a final dividend. Last year the group paid out 5.25 pence.

Rentokil has issued four profit warnings since Brown and McAdam came on board and shares have lost 59 percent of their value in a year.


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