Ireland and Netherlands boost Grafton's 2018 merchanting performance

Grafton's merchanting businesses delivered growth for Grafton, particularly in Ireland, the Netherlands and in the UK.

Adding detail to its preliminary results, the international builders merchanting and DIY group saw revenue rise 9% in 2018, to £2.95 billion (8% growth in constant currency).

The strong organic growth in Ireland and Netherlands Merchanting was bolstered by a 12% increase in profit in UK Merchanting, with a significant contribution from the Leyland SDM acquisition. Woodie's Retailing in Ireland and Mortar Manufacturing in UK also put in excellent performances, Grafton said.

Grafton saw significant progress towards realising its medium term financial objectives - operating profit margin up 60bps to 6.6% and ROCE up 140bps to 15.0%.

"2018 was another year of strong delivery against our medium-term targets achieved through a combination of organic and acquisition led initiatives," said CEO Gavin Slark. "Grafton continues to benefit from exposure to the fast growing Irish and Dutch markets and from strong underlying demand fundamentals in the UK market. The Group’s excellent cash generation from operations, good liquidity and strong balance sheet should continue to support the development of the business."