A Co Down builders merchant has said it hopes to open more branches after increasing profits by around 40% to £1.24m during 2015. However, the directors of Murdock Builders Merchants said they were cautious in their attitude to the year ahead, which they said would be "challenging"
The family-run company, which is led by Ann Morgan, has 12 builders merchant branches across Northern Ireland and the Republic, and was founded in 1982.
In its latest results filed at Companies House, pre-tax profits were up from £873,209 to £1.24m. And sales were up 16%, from £42.9m to £49.9m.
Staff numbers were also up by around 10%, to 248.
Its main activity is described as "building suppliers, wholesalers and distributors". The firm is based at Greenbank Industrial Estate in Newry.
Turnover in the company's main merchant division was up 17%, with operating profit up 36%.
The majority of its increase in sales came from revenue growth in its Northern Ireland operations, where sales were up from £38.6m to £45.6m. Sales in the Republic, where it has two branches, in Balbriggan and Dublin, grew from £4.2m to £4.4m.
And the directors said they were committed to long-term growth "through a combination of organic growth, including new branch openings and acquisitions".
The directors' report, filed as part of the accounts, added: "The directors are confident that further successful implementation of this growth strategy, combined with improvements in buying, inventory management and overhead cost savings, will provide the basis for a year of good progress."
The accounts also state that the ultimate parent company is Isle of Man-registered entity MBM Holdings.
Murdock Builders Merchants supplied builders who worked on the award-winning restoration of National Trust property Mount Stewart, which triumphed in the conservation category of this month's Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards.
Murdocks won the contract to supply all building and joinery material for the £8m restoration.
As part of the project, Murdocks replaced old joists and roof trusses - some of which were over eight metres in length.
As they were too long to transport, the National Trust's joinery experts worked with Murdocks to set up a production facility in Mount Stewart.
Ken Robson of Murdocks said: "We were thrilled to play such an important role in this highly significant project and are proud that our advice, expertise and craftsmanship will help to ensure this great national treasure is maintained and enjoyed by future generations."
Murdocks recently spread into Co Fermanagh, when it acquired the merchanting division of long-established family company FR Cathcart Ltd in Enniskillen. Murdocks said the acquisition would enable it to expand its services for customers in the west of Northern Ireland with a new collection point in their area.
The company's last branch opening was in east Belfast in 2014.