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Stock of the week: Bunzl

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Graham Spooner, investment research analyst at The Share Centre, picks international distribution and outsourcing group Bunzl as stock of the week.

Bunzl is a company best known for being a supplier of food packaging, hygienic clothing, paper and plastic disposables in 27 countries.

Bunzl’s approach of making acquisitions to boost revenue and profit continues to work well. Indeed, it’s most recent results reported last week were ahead of expectations and again reflected on the contributions of such acquisitions, along with organic growth. This has led to improving dividends, with the dividend for the year rising by 11% to 42 pence, as well as strong share price performance.

Interested investors should appreciate that the company has a global presence, which has protected it from regions that have suffered more. Moreover, management have been keen to highlight its position as a market leader and the resilience of its main markets, which should hold up well in difficult times. Indeed, the recent weakness in sterling against the dollar has in fact benefited results.

This is a group that has continued to make steady progress despite difficult market conditions, suggesting management has a good business model. The shares currently appear to be fairly valued, but this is a well-managed business with defensive qualities and improving dividends. As a result we continue to recommend Bunzl as a long-term ‘buy’ for a lower risk balanced portfolio.

Since returning to the buy list in 2015 the share price has risen by around 24%. The shares, which hit an all-time high in August, before falling back post Brexit have once again started trending higher.

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