Sunday 23 November 2014

Grafton snaps up small British builders' merchant

Published 02/09/2014 | 02:30

Warning on lack of trusted builders...Embargoed to 0001 Monday May 12
File photo dated 06/10/11 of person laying bricks as British homeowners are not doing maintenance and repair work because they cannot find builders and other tradesmen they can trust, according to a survey. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday May 12, 2014. Finding trusted tradesmen has become such a problem that housing stock could be in a state of disrepair across regions of the UK, the Homeowner Survey from the HomeOwners Alliance and TrustMark found. More than half of homeowners (58%) said they had difficulty finding a trusted builder to help with repairs or improvements, with 12% of these people not doing the work and 26% delaying the project. Some 40% carried out the repairs or DIY themselves, 27% did only the essential work and 28% used tradesmen they were uncertain about. See PA story CONSUMER Trades. Photo credit should read: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire...A
Construction tender prices on the rise

Grafton, the Dublin-based builders merchanting and DIY Group which owns Woodies, said it has completed the acquisition of Direct Builders Merchants in the UK.

The general merchanting business trades from three branches in Sittingbourne, Whitstable and Ashford in Kent.

"This bolt-on acquisition, which had revenue of £4.8m in the financial year to 31 December 2013, improves the group's coverage of the merchanting market in Kent and the south east of England," the company said in a brief statement.

Shares in Grafton extended recent gains, rising nine pence, or 1.4pc, to £6.54 in London.

The company generates 73pc of its group revenue in the UK and moved its stock market listing to London in 2013.

Grafton has operations in the UK, Ireland and Belgium.

The company has slowly expanded over the years by buying small builders' merchants to create a massive network in the UK and here.

The company said last week that profits surged 62pc to €63.6m in the first six months of the year as its UK and Irish businesses notched up strong performances.

Grafton's revenue in the period was 11pc higher at €1.27bn.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, chief executive Gavin Slark said that one of the "most encouraging" aspects of the performance in the first half was that its merchanting business in Ireland reported growth.

Grafton's Irish merchanting arm, which includes outlets such as Chadwicks and Heitons, reported revenue of €152.6m in the first six months of 2014, a 5.6pc rise on the first half of 2013. In euros, revenue was actually 9.4pc higher.

Operating profit at the unit jumped to £5.6m (€7m) from £1.5m.

"It's still very early doors for the recovery in Ireland," said Mr Slark, "but the recovery in Dublin is spreading out to cities such as Cork and Galway. The midlands remains quite tough."

He said the growth Grafton is seeing in Ireland is off "lots of small projects".

Irish Independent

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