Grafton ramps up

Grafton Group ramped up full-year profit and its dividend payment as trading conditions improved in the UK and Ireland and the group said it is confident of building on its strong performance into 2014.

The group, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2013, said underlying pre-tax profit rose 35% to £64.9m in the year ended December 31st, while revenue increased 8% to £1.9bn.

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Group operating profit margin increased by 60 basis points to 4.1% from 3.5% and adjusted basic earnings per share rose 48% to 22.3p.

‘The overall outlook is more favourable than it has been for some time and, as the UK’s third largest merchanting business and the market leader in the Irish merchanting and DIY markets, the group is well placed to capitalise on an improvement in trading conditions while recognising that the recovery is likely to be gradual and involve its own challenges,’ Grafton said.

Chief Executive Officer Gavin Slark added: ‘The group recovery is making good progress in markets that are still challenging. We are maintaining the disciplined approach to costs and margins demonstrated by these results. Grafton continues to develop a balanced growth strategy combining both organic growth and acquisitive growth where appropriate.

‘Trading in the current year has been encouraging and, while we expect recovery in our markets to be gradual, the group is confident of building on its strong 2013 performance in 2014.’

A total dividend of 8.5p has been offered, an increase of 21% from the previous payment.