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Triton shower maker finds growth despite weak economy

TILE and shower group Norcros has seen overall sales improve despite a sluggish UK shower market.

In a trading update for the six months to September 30 the firm said sales growth had come from its UK tiles business and the South African operation where revenue grew by 17.4%.

The firm, which owns Nuneaton-based Triton showers and Stoke's Johnson Tiles, also announced that it has started a consultation process with UK employees with a view to closing the defined benefit section of its UK pension scheme. It said a new auto enrolment-compliant defined contribution scheme will be introduced from April 1.

Norcros expects half-year sales to come in 9.4% up at £106m on a constant currency basis, which takes currency fluctuations into account. Group pre-tax profits, excluding exceptionals, are forecast at £5.9m, up on last year's £5.4m.

"Our UK businesses have continued to face challenging markets but we are pleased to have delivered year on year revenue growth of 4.7% in the period," said the company.

Johnson Tiles recorded revenue growth of 17%, driven by share gains in B&Q which has implemented a major tile range review and introduced a new in-store tile shop.

Norcros said the UK shower market remained challenging with revenue at its Triton brand 8.3% lower than the prior year for the period.

UK revenue was 6.4% lower than the prior year, but the firm said it had continued to grow market share and saw an improvement in second quarter sales.

Export revenue, which is mainly from Ireland and represents about 14% of overall Triton revenue, was 18.8% lower. Norcros said this refleced continued general economic and Eurozone uncertainty.

In a statement the company said:

"Good progress has continued in our South African businesses and in particular in Johnson Tiles South Africa where management changes and operational improvements improved financial performance. On a constant currency basis, South African revenue was 17.4% higher.

"The outlook for both our UK and South African markets remains challenging but nevertheless the board remains confident that through the ongoing programme of growth initiatives and self-help actions Norcros will continue to make further progress."

Source : James Graham –

05 October 2012
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