Irish merchanting group Grafton Group plc, Irish merchanting group Grafton Group plc, boosted revenue to £2.51 bn, up 13.4% from £2.21 bn for the year ended 31 December 2016.
The trading update was issued in advance of the group’s Final Results which are scheduled to be announced on 7 March 2017.
In the UK, the merchanting operations – which include Grafton Merchanting GB and Selco – increased revenue by 6.6% in year to December 31 2016 and sae daily like-for-like growth of 4.6% in the three months to December 31.
Expansion of the Selco branch network gathered pace with the opening of seven branches, including branches in Croydon and Wembley in December, increasing the network to 47 in 2016.
The current programme of Selco expansion will continue in 2017 with the planned opening of at least ten branches.
The revenue growth picked-up in the last quarter in the traditional UK merchanting business, which trades mainly under the Buildbase and Plumbase brands, although the market remained very price competitive.
The Group’s merchanting business in Ireland outperformed a recovering construction market, driven principally by growth in residential RMI activity, and reported double digit like-for-like revenue growth for the third successive year.
The Netherlands Merchanting business, acquired in November 2015, performed well supported by good economic growth and a strong recovery in the residential new build and RMI markets.
The Group announced on 18 November 2016 that it had signed an agreement to acquire Gunters en Meuser, a distributor of tools fixings and ironmongery from 14 branches.
The Belgian Merchanting business continued to experience difficult market conditions with softening demand, especially for larger project work.
The Woodie’s DIY business in Ireland reported a solid increase in volumes benefitting from the initiatives undertaken in recent years to improve the customer proposition and a more favourable retail market.
Gavin Slark, Chief Executive Office said: “The Group finished the year on a more positive note and saw the benefit during 2016 of its exposure to multiple markets. We had an active year on the development front with the opening of seven new Selco branches, the completion of two bolt-on acquisitions in the UK and we agreed to acquire Gunters en Meuser in the Netherlands. A strong balance sheet and excellent cash generation from operations support these developments and our ongoing strategic initiatives.”