Grafton revenue rises by 6pc and nears €3bn
A STRONG fourth quarter helped boost revenues at Irish building materials group Grafton to £2.2bn (€2.9bn) for the year to the end of December.
In a brief trading update yesterday published ahead of its final results, the firm, which owns the Woodie's DIY brand in Ireland, said like-for-like sales rose by 6.3pc from £2.08bn in 2014. Total revenue rose by 3.8pc in the three months to the end of December. Growth was strongest at the group's merchanting arm, which accounts for 91pc of the company's total revenue.
Turnover at its UK merchanting business, which accounted for three-quarters of group revenue, rose by 8.9pc in 2015.
The merchanting operations in Ireland performed well, recording revenue growth of 10.9pc on a constant currency basis throughout 2015, although this was down marginally, by 0.1pc, when converted into sterling due to the strength of the currency.
The retailing side of the company, which includes Woodie's, expanded by 4.1pc on a constant currency basis in the year to the end of December.
Chief executive Gavin Slark reiterated the company's £125.5m-£127m operating profit guidance for 2015 which was flagged by the firm in November.
He said 2015 was a "year of significant development activity" for the company with bolt-on acquisitions in the UK merchanting market and an expansion into the Netherlands.
Analysts reacted positively to the update. In a research note Davy Stockbrokers said the group's recent efficient use of its balance sheet, "reinforces our view that current 2016 earnings expectations will ultimately prove to be light". Davy estimated that trading profit could grow by 16pc to £147m in 2016.