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All hail the UK’s dividend king

No UK-listed company has a longer history of successive dividend increases than the AIM-quoted floor coverings business James Halstead plc. After reporting a 9% hike in the interim dividend in March, the company is on course for its 38th year of successive dividend rises. The James Halstead (Halstead) business first came to life in 1915 under its eponymous founder. Originally providing textiles for outdoor clothing, in 1934 the founder’s sons Herbert and John Halstead diversified into the manufacture of flooring materials. Much of the company’s success since has been built around the development of Polyflor, a vinyl product that at the time of its original production was quite revolutionary. Polyflor became such an important product for James Halstead that it is now the name of the group’s UK company.

Boryspil Airport in Kiev’. The company is proud to mention any sales to football clubs and has completed installations recently at West Bromwich Albion and Blackpool FC. Around half of the shares in the company remain in the hands of members of the Halstead family. Both the current Chairman and CEO are descendants of the original founder. Such a shareholder register and management team frequently brings a

superior level of stewardship and longterm decision making than is delivered by many other quoted companies. The fact that another party effectively has control of the business need not be a big issue for shareholders; it has been working at James Halstead for decades. James Halstead’s dividend record is superior to any other UK-listed company. Although Shell has not cut its dividend in dollar terms since the end of World War II, the oil giant has on occasion lacked the confidence or capability to increase its payout. It is notable that neither company would be considered high-tech but has nevertheless delivered phenomenal dividend growth. James Halstead is a

James Halstead is headquartered in Radcliffe, Manchester

a leading position selling floor coverings A series of acquisitions has seen Halstead achieve a leading position selling floor coverings to schools, workplaces, public buildings etc. Halstead’s customers utilise their product in a wide range of applications. Interim results from the company confirmed that Halstead products have recently been installed at ‘the Mississippi Crime Laboratory in Jackson, the Sberbank in Moscow and


October 2014 AIM Prospector  
October 2014 AIM Prospector  

Featuring five AIM-quoted companies: Brooks Macdonald, James Halstead, Polar Capital, Shoe Zone and Victoria plc.