MacBlair's owner enjoys sharp rise in revenue
Irish building supplies group Grafton, which owns MacBlair in Northern Ireland, has reported a sharp upturn in revenue in the first half of 2018.
MacBlair, which operates 16 branches here, underwent a major rebranding exercise just under two years ago for its merchanting division.
Grafton's entire portfolio includes 675 branches in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, employing over 12,500 people. Around 450 are employed in Northern Ireland.
Grafton Group plc's revenue rose 8.6% to £1.45bn in the first six months of the year. On a constant currency basis, it was 7.9% higher.
Like-for-like group revenue rose 3.8%.
The group's revenue in the UK rose 6.7% in constant currency terms during in the first six months of 2018. In Ireland, merchanting sales were 7.6% higher in the period.
In the UK, daily like-for-like revenue growth in the two months to the end of June was 5.8%, and 1.8% in the first six months of the year.
Chief executive Gavin Slark said Grafton's growth in the UK during the first six months of 2018 was influenced by the store-opening programme for its Selco chain, and the acquisition of London-based decorator merchant Leyland SDM in February.
"Our businesses in Ireland and the Netherlands continue to perform well," said Mr Slark.
"We enter the second half well placed to deliver our expectations for the financial year."
Grafton's Northern Ireland trading company, Macnaughton Blair Ltd, reported a pre-tax profit of £5.3m in 2016.
In the Netherlands, Grafton's revenue in the first six months of the year was up 18.8%, and in Belgium it was 2.9% lower.