Builders’ merchanting and DIY group Grafton expects to post an operating profit of at least €70m for the financial year just ended – about 4pc more than had been anticipated.
Shares in the company – whose retail brands in Ireland include Woodies and Atlantic Homecare – shot up more than 5pc in Dublin after it issued a trading update this morning.
Grafton, which generates about 70pc of its business in the UK, has benefited from firmer margins and is feeling the positive impact of ‘self-help’ measures it undertook since the downturn began.
The company said its revenue during 2012 rose 5.8pc to €2.05bn. It added that trading in the latter part of the year ended “on a stronger note”, with “above trend growth in average daily UK like-for-like merchanting turnover”.
But its Irish merchanting business continues to be extremely challenging. Revenue at the division fell 8.5pc for the year, but the annual rate of decline eased to 2.7pc between November and December.