Grafton trading lifts at year end

Published:  09 January, 2013

Grafton Group reports revenue for last year came to  €2.17bn up 6% higher on 2011. Trading was stronger towards the end of last year. In a trading statement for the year to the end of December, Grafton saw growth in the group's UK merchanting business, while the decline in its Irish merchanting business slowed. Grafton said that UK merchanting sterling turnover rose by 3.1% in the year.

Irish merchanting turnover fell by 8.5% for the 12 month period, but the rate of decline in average daily turnover eased to 2.7% in the last two months of 2012. Turnover in its Irish retailing business fell 9.2% for 2012 and by half this rate in November and December.

The company said it expects its operating profit for 2012 will exceed market expectations and will be not less than  €70m - reflecting an improvement in trading in the last few months of the year. Grafton said the immediate outlook for demand in its markets remains challenging and the timing and extent of any recovery is unclear.

"There will be a continued focus in 2013 on operational initiatives to improve profitability. These measures together with a portfolio of highly cash generative businesses and a strong balance sheet leaves the group well placed to benefit from a market recovery and provide the resources to invest in suitable development opportunities,'' the trading statement said.

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