Howard Grant: proactively supporting trade levels.

Unimer announces 'outstanding results' of £769m

Published:  14 July, 2010

SOUTH WALES: At its annual Open Day at Celtic Manor, United Merchants, the UK's largest merchant co-operative and leading invoice clearing house, reported a turnover of £769m for the year ending April 2010.

United Merchants (Unimer) achieved an outstanding set of results in a trading period that has been one of the most difficult and challenging for the building materials sector.

For the year ended April 2010 Unimer's turnover of £769m reflected year-on-year growth of 4.2%, said managing director Howard Grant.

"This was supported by an increase of 8.1% in the volume of transactions processed. Unimer has achieved that growth in a trading period when many businesses in the sector have gone backwards and have had to retrench and focus on survival," he said.

The business growth also reflects market share gains for Unimer, "supported by the continuing increase in the numbers of its merchant membership and an increase in the scale and diversity of its supply base".

The higher levels of trading have also been supported by a notable reduction in the operating costs of the business.

"The planned programme of cost reductions established early in 2009 have all been successfully delivered and the financial performance reflect a significantly lower level of bad debts over the 12-month period," Mr Grant went on to state, adding that "by working closely with our merchant members, we have managed to proactively support good levels of trade and we have been understanding when their cashflows have been challenged over the last year.

"These excellent results demonstrate that Unimer's transparent approach to trading continues to add value for our merchant members and for our suppliers. The results also reflect the excellent work and commitment to developing the business, created by the whole of the Unimer team.

"The new financial year has started strongly and we have recently renewed our three-year trading agreement with Procurement for Housing. We hope that we will be able to announce more exciting trading initiatives for our members over the next few months."

This year's Open Day also celebrated Unimer's 75th anniversary. Although the wider construction sector and merchanting in general have taken a battering over the past year, Unimer's event provided welcome respite and a congenial way for merchants to meet suppliers.

The event was overseen by the entire United Merchants team, lead by managing director Howard Grant, trading director Robin Beal, marketing manager Suzanne Millward, finance manager Graham Nash, administration manager Wendy Gill and administrator Sara Ashford-Smith

The event was once again accompanied by a suppliers' gallery of exhibitors - featuring both heavyside and lightside companies. The day culminated in a lengthy Meet the Merchant session - the traditional 'speed dating' segment that allowed bite-sized chunks of business to be discussed. It was very well attended.

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