Gavin Slark: strong financial position.

BSS revenues start to move up

Published:  01 April, 2010

LEICESTER: The BSS Group's trading update for the year ending 31 March 2010, showed total revenue for the financial year to be marginally above last year.

Trading performance has improved as the financial year progressed with fourth quarter like-for-like sales growth of 5.1% against a like-for-like sales decrease of 2.6% in the third quarter. A sustained period of cold weather and the boiler scrappage scheme benefited the merchant's Domestic Division.

The core repair and maintenance business that underpins revenue has remained resilient throughout the financial year and new revenue initiatives, including heating spares, renewables and above ground drainage, are continuing to show encouraging progress, said chief executive, Gavin Slark.

"As expected, gross margin percentage in the year is lower than last year reflecting competitive market conditions, increased contract sales and strong trading performance from F&P Wholesale. Gross margin improvement in the new financial year is a key priority."

Mr Slark reported that costs had been tightly managed throughout the year.

"We expect like-for-like costs, excluding new branches and acquired businesses, to be around 6% below last year," he said.

The BSS board anticipated that earnings in the current year, after exceptional costs and amortisation of acquired intangibles, will be not less than market expectations.

"The Group's financial position remains strong with expected net debt at 31 March 2010 of around last year's closing level of £86m. During the year, £12m has been spent on acquisitions and in excess of £9m on dividends," Mr Slark commented.

The Group's preliminary results are to be announced on 25 May.

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