Unimer's Howard Grant.

Unimer announces 14% year-on-year growth

Published:  11 August, 2011

WEST SUSSEX: Unimer's recent board meeting marked a major milestone as it approved the accounts for the year ended 30 April 2011 and confirmed another record year for the business.

"This phenomenal result was achieved in what has remained a challenging market," said Unimer's managing director, Howard Grant.

Unimer processed £876m of transactional value in the 12-month period, an all-time record for the organisation, Mr Grant reported. "This was achieved in the year in which we also celebrated our 75th anniversary. A great way to record this wonderful milestone!"

The £876m turnover represented a 14% year-on-year growth and this performance can be compared to an overall market growth in turnover of around 7%, much of which had been generated by material price growth.

Mr Grant explained: "Unimer has gained market share by growing the market for its invoice clearing house services and in particular by focusing on four key factors: working with existing merchant members and suppliers to explore and exploit business opportunities that will benefit both parties; continued growth in new membership - 47 new members recruited in the last 12 months; continued growth in new supplier agreements - 41 new suppliers added to our already extensive portfolio and managing and monitoring our overhead expenditure, thus continuing to ensure that all of our activities create value for money."

In processing the record level of turnover and a record volume of 1.3 million incoming transactions, Unimer generated £18.5m of added value for its merchant members, a 14.9% year-on-year increase in what Unimer has added to its members' profits.

As well as streamlining back office and supply chain operations for both merchants and suppliers, Unimer has also positioned itself to help its merchant members to win business in particular market sectors. Unimer's four key marketing initiatives are recording successful growth are:

* Procurement for Housing (housing associations) – the responsive repairs supply contract was renewed for a further three years and turnover with Unimer members has grown by 43% over the last year.

* BuildStore (self-build and major renovations projects) – the participating Unimer merchant network has grown to 264 branches with good product and geographical coverage.

* eBuildingSupplies (online procurement of building materials) – the trading portal is generating around an average of £50 000 of sales enquiries every day for its participating merchant members.

* Green Energy Centre (franchise opportunity for merchants to target the renewables and Green Deal sector). The first franchise is fully operational. Several others will follow shortly.

Looking forward, Mr Grant and the Unimer board has approved a major investment in IT, focused on a project which, over the next few months, will replace 90% of all of the major IT systems run within Unimer.

The new system will be fully integrated and will set the business up with a reliable, supportable and flexible system that should be good for the next 10 years. The current system has lasted over 20 years, Mr Grant pointed out.

"Merchants and suppliers working together with Unimer can generate real business success for all parties and the Unimer team will continue to deliver real added value over the next financial year," he stated.

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