HILL  & Smith Holdings, the West-Midlands based global manufacturing group, has announced an end of year dividend of 16p following a positive set of results for the second half of 2013.

The Shirley-based company, which employs almost 700 people in the Midlands, said a subdued first half of the year was followed by record earnings for the second half.

The company, which is involved in the manufacture and supply of infrastructure products and galvanizing services to global markets, said its results were in line with the outlook announced in its August interim results and November IMS.

Revenue increased by 0.9 per cent to £444.5 million compared to 2012. Underlying profits were also up, though pre-tax profits were down by 13.1 per cent to £30.6 million.

Profits from Hill & Smith’s roads business improved significantly, thanks to what it said was “a positive outlook” in the UK and in newer markets overseas.

It said its utilities business was unable to replicate 2012 performance, due to lower levels of demand and one-off major projects not being repeated.

Galvanizing volumes increased by four per cent due to acquisition and improvement in the UK market, with a positive start to 2014 with increased capacity in the US and an enhanced UK footprint.

Year-end net debt of £87.2 million was materially unchanged from the previous year, despite investment in UK acquisitions and increased US galvanizing capacity.

The company recommended a final dividend of 10p, making a total dividend for the year of 16p, an increase of 6.7 per cent.

Chief executive Derek Muir said: “We achieved a record earnings performance in the second half after a subdued start to the year, and made important strategic investments and changes across the group.

"Encouragingly, the momentum seen in the second half of 2013 has continued into the first two months of 2014.

“The roads division performed strongly in the second half and will benefit from the UK Government’s announcement of strategic additions to the road network, from 2015. We have continued to invest in capacity ahead of this anticipated growth.

“In utilities we made some important structural changes both in the UK and overseas and after a more positive second half of 2013, the businesses entered 2014 with stronger order books.

“In galvanizing services, overall volumes were ahead, and we have added capacity in both the UK and the US. Again the current year has started well, although we remain mindful of the continued challenging economic climate in France.

“Overall, the prospects for both infrastructure products and galvanizing services are encouraging as we see signs of increased activity and future capital spend.”