My Food Bag Group said its first-half net profit was up 25% on the prior year and it confirmed its maiden dividend.

Net profit was $9.4 million in the six months to Sept 30 and the board declared an interim dividend of 3.0 cents per share, payable on Dec 16.  

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation were $16m, up 11.6% on the year.

“We are pleased to have achieved record earnings as a business and to be in a position to declare our first dividend as a listed company,” said chair Tony Carter.

It expects to pay a final dividend of 4 cents per share following the release of the full-year results.

This dividend allows for sufficient retained cash to fund growth requirements internally and, on a full-year basis, represents a distribution of approximately 85% of anticipated net profit after tax, the company said.

According to Carter, total deliveries of 808,000 and an average order value of $121.81 were lower than the same period in FY21, owing to a spike during the 2020 nationwide lockdown in the early part of the pandemic response.

However, the business increased active customer numbers by 3.3% in the six months to September 30 and grew high value active customers by 3.1% year-on-year, with margin improvements further increasing their value.

As a result, it reaffirmed its FY22 ebitda guidance of $34.2m, which represents an 18% improvement year-on-year.

“During the first half of FY22, we launched the first phase of the My Food Bag Kitchen, which is an important step towards expanding our offering beyond meal kits and ready-made meals,” said chief executive Kevin Bowler.

“We now offer a range of curated go-to grocery products and recipes, specifically selected by our chefs, that customers can add to their orders.”

The business also expanded its recipe choice offering. My Food Bag My Choice now has 15 meal options a week and meal choice is also now part of the Bargain Box and Fresh Start brands.

“Our data demonstrates that recipe choice is driving higher active customer growth and increasing order frequency. So, the expansion of choice is one of the underpinning factors of our confidence in H2 performance,” said Bowler.