International building materials distributor and DIY retailer, Grafton Group plc has issued a trading update for the final two months of 2022 with the group’s new CEO commenting on the performance.
Group average daily like-for-like revenue growth of 2.6% in the final two months of the year was marginally ahead of growth of 1.8% in the four months to the end of October. Group revenue increased by 9.1% to £2.30 billion in 2022 from £2.11 billion in the prior year and by 40% from £1.64 billion in 2019.
The Group continued to benefit from the geographic diversity of its markets with over half of revenue generated in Ireland, the Netherlands and Finland.
Revenue trends continued to be favourable in the distribution businesses in Ireland and the Netherlands supported by good underlying demand and building materials price inflation. Trading conditions continued to soften in the UK distribution business although the rate of decline in volumes slowed. The Finnish distribution business ended the year on a strong note. Trading normalised in the DIY, Home and Garden business in Ireland to a level that was marginally down on the prior year and the rate of revenue growth in the UK manufacturing business eased in response to lower activity in the new housing market.
The Group now expects full year adjusted operating profit before property profit and the non-recurring pension gain to be slightly ahead of the top end of Analysts’ forecasts.
Eric Born joined Grafton as CEO on 28 November 2022, he commented: "I am delighted to have joined Grafton and in my first six weeks as CEO I have met with the management teams across our businesses and visited branches, stores and manufacturing facilities in the four countries where we operate. I have been deeply impressed by the heritage and quality of our businesses and by the passion, drive and enthusiasm of our people as well as their extensive knowledge of our markets and customers. Together with my team, I look forward to building on these very solid foundations over the coming years. It is pleasing to note that despite mixed macroeconomic and market conditions, we expect full year operating profit to be slightly ahead of the top end Analysts' forecasts for 2022. We look to the future with confidence supported by our market leading businesses and very strong financial position."