Building materials firm Grafton Group reported good trading for the first half of the year despite increased economic uncertainty.
The company, which owns the Chadwicks and Woodie’s brands in Ireland, recorded revenue growth of 13.9pc on a constant currency basis for the period from 1 January to 30 June.
In a trading update, the company reported that distribution businesses in Ireland and the Netherlands had performed strongly, with distribution in the UK more subdued as a result of strong comparators.
Grafton Group said the overall performance of Chadwicks in the Irish market was exceptionally strong following a return to more normal trading conditions, as well as “significant” building materials price inflation particularly for stell and timber products.
Chadwicks also experienced strong demand for materials used in housing RMI projects, scheme and one-off houses, as well as in private and public sector construction.
The Sitetech business, which Grafton Group acquired at the end of February this year, also traded ahead of expectations.
Revenue levels in the company’s retail business in Ireland as strong gains during Covid-19 lockdowns reversed as the group had expected. Woodie’s traded as an essential retailer while Ireland was in lockdown.
Despite this slowdown, retail revenue stood at 25.6pc higher in the first half of this year compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Total group revenue rose to £1.15bn (€1.36bn) in the half year, with the company stating that overall trading remains in line with the plan for the half year.
Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, the group said it would make no changes to its full year operating profit expectations at this stage.
Half of the group’s operating profit for the first half of the year was also generated outside the UK.
In May, the company commenced a buyback programme of up to £100m (€118.25m) to be completed by the end of the year. At present, Grafton Group has completed £43.8m (€51.8m) of this programme.
“The Group’s overall trading performance was good against a very strong comparator in the first half of last year and our operating profit expectations for the full year are unchanged. Notwithstanding current macro-economic risks, our portfolio of resilient high performing businesses has the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances and is well positioned to outperform,” said chief executive Gavin Slark.
Earlier this month, Mr Slark announced his intentions to step down at the end of this year. The search for a successor has now commenced with the support of an executive search firm, according to the company.