Irish builders and plumbers merchant chain Grafton Group swung back into the black during the first six months of the year, thanks largely to stronger performances at its UK merchanting businesses Grafton Merchanting GB and Selco.
UK merchanting turnover increased by 5% to €678.5m and operating profit more than doubled to €27.9 million (2009: €13.7 million).
Group revenue increased marginally to €979 m from €990 m, while group operating profits were back, standing at €14.8 m, compared with the €8.3 m loss reported at the same time last year.
Profit before tax rose to €13.4 m from €3.7 m.
Michael Chadwick, executive chairman said that the market challenges faced by the Group over recent years had “eased considerably in the first half”.
“The improved trends in Group turnover were sustained in July and August,” he continued. “Grafton’s profits are now recovering and we expect further profit improvement in the second half. A good base has been established from which renewed growth”
Around 70% of Grafton’s revenue comes from the UK, where it operates the brands Buildbase, Plumbase, Jackson Building Centres, Buildbase Civils & Lintels, Hirebase, PDM, Hendricks Lovell, L&G Forest Products, Keelsupply, Acorn Insulation & Drywall, Southern Drylining & Insulation and Progress Group, under the Grafton Merchanting GB umbrella.
Chadwick also said that the Irish DIY market remained “pretty rough”, with revenue at Woodies and Atlantic Homecare outlets having fallen 7% to €117.5m in the first half.