Airline services group Watermark is boosting its dividend payment after posting increased full year pre-tax profits.
The company yesterday told shareholders that profits to December 31 rose by 84 per cent, from £3.8 million to £7 million.
Sales rose 88 per cent to £77.6 million, which included a full contribution from acquisitions made in 2003.
Operating profit was up 50 per cent, from £3.4 million to £5.1 million.
Watermark raised its annual dividend by ten per cent to 1.96p.
Chief executive John Caulcutt said: " Notwithstanding the ongoing challenges being faced by the airline sector at this time, and a significant bad debt taken on board during the first half, the year 2004 has been another period of growth for Watermark with revenues, normalised profits and earnings per share, again reaching all-time highs.
"As well as organic growth from the core products division, and a claw back in margins during the second half of the year, the acquisitions that we made in 2003 have all continued to increase sales and pretax profits during the year whilst strengthening the foundations for the future growth of the company."
Turning to the outlook for Watermark, he added: "The challenge for the industry now is to turn traffic growth into profitability.
"Airlines entered 2005 with a renewed determination to improve efficiency, and increasingly look at the benefits of outsourcing as a means of reducing operational cost structures.
"The value of new contract wins during the first part of 2005 has been encouraging."