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Grafton Group sales reach €2bn

Grafton Group, the building materials group with operations in the UK and Ireland, achieved modest growth in the final three quarters of 2010, pushing sales up to €2 billion for the year, up from €1.98 billion in 2009.

The figures were in line with analysts' expectations.

In a trading update for the year ended December 31st, 2010 the DIY company said that sales in the second half were approximately €1.02 billion, up about 3 per cent on the €0.99 billion achieved in the comparable period in 2009. Extreme weather in late November and December impacted negatively on sales.

Trading in Ireland showed some signs of stabilisation. The decline in Irish merchanting turnover moderated in the second half with sales down 7 per cent relative to a fall of 16 per cent in the first half. UK merchanting sales were up 7 per cent on the €1.32 billion achieved in 2009. Overall, group merchanting turnover increased by 3 per cent in the year.

Retailing sales finished the year down 7 per cent consistent with earlier trading statements issued by the Group. Turnover in the Group's manufacturing division was down 4 per cent on last year.

Grafton, which owns the Woodie's and Atlantic Homecare stores, is the largest DIY retailer in Ireland and has 41 stores nationally. It is also the biggest builders and plumbers merchanting business in the country, operating 28 Heiton Buckley branches and 24 Chadwicks stores.

Grafton also announced this morning to acquire 10 of Travis Perkins' plumbing and heating branches in England and Wales. Nine of these currently trade as PTS and the other as City Plumbing Supplies.

"Grafton's financial position remains strong with good liquidity and positive cash flows from operations" the company said in a statement. "The improvement in operating profitability evident in the first half has progressed strongly into the second half. The Group is well positioned for continuing growth in earnings as its markets recover."

Source : Irish

07 January 2011
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