Builders merchant Travis Perkins is reaping the benefit of its acquisition of rival plumbers merchant BSS last year, reporting half year profits up by 25% and turnover up by 54%.
However, the builders merchant is warning that the industry could be in for more trouble next year, thanks to further global economic uncertainty.
Travis Perkins Group revenue was £2.3bn, up 54%, while pre-tax profit rose to £140m, a 25% rise.
The merchanting division saw turnover grow by 11.1% to £1.133bn, the retail division achieved sales of £513.2m and the BSS division, acquired at the end of 2010 £700.7m.
Within the merchanting division, Travis Perkins reports a strong performance from both yard and direct-to-site sales and the Keyline brand, in particular benefitting from relatively strong private housing starts in the first quarter. Overall operating margin was 8.5%, 0.8% down on the same period a year ago.
Wickes increased core sales by 4.1%, although the previously strong kitchen and bathroom sales fell 13.2% year-on-year. Tile Giant sales increased 9.3% and retail divion operating margins fell to 3.5% from 5.2%.
“The level of uncertainty globally has risen with the Greek debt crisis, and now concerns about what is happening in the U.S.,” chief executive Geoff Cooper told Reuters.
“That’s something we’ve got to worry about and I’m sure there will be impact on the UK economy.”
Cooper said that the group’s core builder customers are cautious about prospects beyond this Summer. has also detected caution among its builder customer base beyond the summer.
“They’re telling us that there’s going to be quite a rush of work in the summer,” he said, much of it being repair programmes brought forward.
“But further out, builders haven’t got as much work on as they had previously, so our market intelligence tells us that we probably need to be a bit more cautious about next year rather than this year.”
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