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Grafton Group targets European takeovers

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Grafton CEO Gavin Slark. Photo: El Keegan

Grafton CEO Gavin Slark. Photo: El Keegan

Grafton CEO Gavin Slark. Photo: El Keegan

Grafton Group is in early-stage discussions with at least one company that it sees as a potential acquisition in a new European market, CEO Gavin Slark has told the Sunday Independent in an interview.

The firm has up to €350m to spend on acquisitions and is eager to expand beyond the Irish, UK and Dutch markets in which it operates, said Slark.

He said he could not put a timeline on any potential acquisitions but any worsening of the situation around the coronavirus might slow down the process.

Last year, Grafton, which operates the Woodie's and Chadwicks brands in Ireland, moved into the Dutch market with the acquisition of Polvo for €131m, and Slark said the company would look for more growth through acquisitions.

"That has always been part of our plan. We would like to find another geography to do what we have done in the Netherlands," he said.

But he said that "the one thing you won't see us doing is buying a business that needs a turnaround or a lot of investment; we are only interested in acquiring good businesses".

Slark also said the company had seen an uptick in sales of dust masks at its builders provider stores since the outbreak of coronavirus.

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