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Woodie’s owner says business will benefit from retrofit scheme

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Grafton Group CEO Gavin Slark

Grafton Group CEO Gavin Slark

Woodie's DIY

Woodie's DIY

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Grafton Group CEO Gavin Slark

The CEO of Grafton Group expects the company will benefit from the Government's new retrofit grants scheme.

Grafton’s brands here include Woodie’s DIY and builders' merchant chain Chadwicks.

“I think that the potential for grants on the retrofitting definitely should help the overall construction industry. It should create work for, I would say, smaller contractors, depending on how the scheme will work,” said Grafton Group chief Gavin Slark.

“I think overall that repair, maintenance and improvement market and the new build market in Ireland actually both look pretty positive.”

His comments come as the company reported record adjusted operating profit of £271.2m (€325.5m) for 2021, a 59pc increase on the previous year.

The group said it experienced a “very strong performance across all businesses, with record contributions from Woodie’s and Selco.”

Revenue at the company increased 25pc year-on-year to £2.1bn, according to annual results from the group.

Grafton’s operating profit from continued operations increased 70.6pc to £269.2m.

During the year there were “strong” gains by Chadwicks and Isero brands.

May and June last year saw a spike in demand in the residential repaid, maintenance, and improvement market and house building markets “significantly boosting profitability” at Chadwicks in the first half of the year. Second-half profitability was also “very strong,” Grafton said.

The company said the sale of its traditional merchanting business in Britain for £520m provides further investment capacity for growth.

Meanwhile, its acquisition of IKH in Finland for €200m provides it with a “new growth platform in the Nordics”.

Mr Slark said mergers and acquisitions are “very much part” of the group’s agenda.

“We held a capital markets event last year and we said over the next three, four years we have something between £750m and £1.2bn to spend and we will continue to look for those opportunities.”

Last year Grafton experienced supply chain disruption, which, it said, resulted in shortages of core building materials, longer lead times, managed allocation for selected products and a sharp increase in product price inflation across a range of categories in the distribution businesses in the UK and Ireland.

Looking to 2022, the company said that the overall rate of building materials price inflation “appears to be moderating”.

Nonetheless, it said there is a carryover effect from price increases in the second half of last year, and “the pricing of certain key products, such as timber and steel, may prove volatile in the current year”.

Shares in Grafton Group were trading up less than 1pc in London by midday.


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