Belfast Telegraph

Revenues at Grafton up to £1.3bn in first half of year

By John Mulligan

A resurgent economy in the Republic has boosted Grafton Group's bottom line, with its merchanting business contributing more than £20m to its revenues in the first six months of the year.

The group, which owns MacNaughton Blair in Northern Ireland, reported £61.8m organic revenue growth during the first half of the year.

MacNaughton Blair operates 15 builders' merchants stores here, which are now branded MacBlair.

Its Woodies DIY chain in the Republic contributed £4.6m, as the company continued to reap the benefits of store revamps and more confident consumers.

"The Irish economy and the housing market is recovering in such a way that it should be sustainable for the medium to long-term," chief executive Gavin Slark said.

"If you look at the way the Irish market has recovered, it's good for the builders' merchant business."

Grafton's two Irish divisions contributed £5.1m of the total £12.2m group increase in adjusted operating profit growth in the first six months of 2017.

On a group level, revenue at Grafton during the first six months of the year jumped 6.2% on a constant currency basis to £1.33bn.

Grafton's adjusted operating profit, excluding property gains, rose 18.8% to £77m.

The results were better than expected by analysts, but shares in the group remained flat yesterday.

Grafton generated £919m of its revenue in the first half of the year from its UK merchanting business, where it owns chains such as Selco, Buildbase and Plumbase.

In Ireland, its merchanting arm operates under the Chadwicks and Heiton Buckley brands, and accounted for £193m of revenue in the first half of the year.

That was 10.6% higher year-on-year on a constant currency basis.

Profits at the Irish merchanting business rose 30.4% on a constant currency basis, to £15.4m in the first half.

Belfast Telegraph

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