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Grafton reports 6.7% rise in first quarter of 2015

Selco lorry

Grafton Group PLC Tuesday said revenue was up 6.7% in the first four months of 2015, as it continued to benefit from the economic improvement in both the UK and Ireland, while operating profit was also up on the year as margins rose.

The builders merchanting and DIY company said total revenue was up 6.7% on the year at GBP698 million, from GBP654 million a year earlier, and the rise would have been 9.6% if exchange rates had remained constant.

Total revenue grew across all its businesses at constant currencies, although currency movements meant revenue was down in its Belgium merchanting and its retailing units when translated into sterling. This was more than offset by gains in UK and Ireland merchanting, and its manufacturing business. Average daily like-for-like revenue at constant currencies rose in all businesses bar its Belgian merchanting business, and was up strongly in Irish merchanting and its manufacturing business.

It said its Selco business in the UK has got off to a strong start for the year, although operating profit is down at Plumbase as it lowered prices in response to challenging market conditions. Its Irish merchanting business has continued the strong revenue growth momentum that started in the spring of last year, and it is moving to improve operations at the Belgian merchanting business after the unit reported a small decline in like-for-like revenue due to general economic weakness.

"It is anticipated that operating profit will be more heavily weighted towards the second half of the year reflecting the benefit of both ongoing development and margin improvement initiatives," the company said on its overall outlook.

Grafton Group shares were down 2.7% at 820.00 pence Tuesday morning.

Read the full IMS here

Source : Steve McGrath - London South East

12 May 2015

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