UPDATE 2-UK's Bunzl sees underlying sales growing more than host economies
* CEO says should beat GDP growth of countries it operates in
* Strong pound drives 1 percent fall in first half sales
* Business supplies distributor's sales at constant FX up 7 pct (Recasts with CEO comments, analyst notes)
By Li-mei Hoang
LONDON, Aug 26 (Reuters) - British business supplies distributor Bunzl expects underlying sales growth for the rest of its financial year to beat broader economic growth, after a strong pound dented first half revenue by 8 percent.
Referring to like-for-like growth at constant exchange rates, Chief Executive Michael Roney said this should be ahead of the GDP forecasts in the countries in which it operates, and that acquisitions would help boost revenues further.
"We expect our underlying growth to be ahead of GDP -- for example, if (GDP growth) is 2 percent, we would expect to be somewhere around 2.5-3.5 percent in that area," he told Reuters in a phone interview.
The company, which supplies supermarkets, hospitals and hotels with products ranging from carrier bags to toilet rolls and generates 83 percent of revenues abroad, said on Tuesday it had posted strong sales growth in North America, Britain and Latin America.
But Australia and some parts of Continental Europe remained sluggish. Continuación...