Grafton sales stabilise

Published:  06 January, 2010

DUBLIN: Grafton's turnover stabilised with a turnaround in the property market in Britain, its main market.

Grafton, which owns Buildbase in the United Kingdom and Heiton Buckley builders' merchants in Ireland, said revenue in the 12 months to December was €1.98b (£1.77b) down 26% percent from 2008, itself down 17% on 2007.

In the second half of 2009, like-for-like sales per working day in Grafton's UK units, which account for two-thirds of group sales, fell 7% on a constant currency basis, compared with a an 18% fall in the first six months, it said.

Grafton said in a statement: "Green shoots evident in key UK sectoral indicators, such as increased mortgage lending, housing transactions, house building and some house price inflation, are being reflected in improving sales across our UK businesses."

Data released in the past week showed UK house prices rose for an eighth month in December, a slow down in the rate of decline of construction activity, and credit conditions expected to loosen further at the start of the new year.

Grafton reduced its net debt, but remained "cautious" about the outlook for 2010.

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