Grafton Group plc, the UJK, Irish and Belgian builders merchant and DIY group, saw revenue for the four months to 30 April 2015 increase by 6.7% to £698m.
The group issued an interim management statement in advance of its AGM this morning (May 12).
Market conditions were broadly positive in the period, the statement reveals. Like-for-like revenue continued to increase in the UK Merchanting business, although moderately. Selco had a strong start to the year, benefitting from good levels of residential RMI demand particularly in the London area.
Like-for-like revenue growth in the traditional General Merchanting business was partially offset by pressure on margins and a lower proportion of higher margin collected trade. A challenging plumbing and heating market also limited operating profits at Plumbase.
The strong momentum in revenue growth in the Irish Merchanting business that started in the second quarter of 2014 continued into 2015. Residential RMI activity was the key driver of improved demand as the recovery in the wider economy gathered pace. The gradual recovery in house building, from the exceptionally low levels of recent years, was concentrated in the Greater Dublin Area and provincial cities. There were early indications that a recovery is starting to take hold in the civils and commercial segments of the market.
The Belgian Merchanting business was impacted by general economic weakness resulting in a small decline in like-for-like revenue. The new management team has started to implement a programme of operational changes and performance improvement measures.
CEO Gavin Slark, said: “The Group is well positioned to benefit from growth in its markets and from ongoing development activity that will support further progress towards the delivery of its medium term targets outlined earlier this year.”