Grafton Group to review some of its UK merchanting businesses

Move may or may not result in the sale of some or all of businesses, group says

Gavin Slark is chief executive of the  Grafton Group.

Gavin Slark is chief executive of the Grafton Group.

 

Grafton Group, the builders merchants and DIY retailer, is to undertake a review of some of its merchanting businesses in Britain which may or may not result in the sale of some or all of these businesses.

The group, which owns Woodie’s, said on Friday it had appointed Rothschild & Co to carry out the process.

It said the strategic review is focused solely on the Buildbase, Civils & Lintels, PDM Buildbase, the Timber Group, Bathroom Distribution Group and NDI businesses. “No other businesses in the group form part of the strategic review,” it said.

In February, the group reported that sales in its Woodie’s stores in the Republic were up 41 per cent so far this year, with consumers limited in where they could spend their money while non-essential retail stores remain in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Still, sales across the group’s Irish distribution business, mainly operating under the Chadwicks brand, were down almost 13 per cent so far in 2021, a trend that group chief executive, Gavin Slark, said would be continuing in the near term.

Speaking at the time, Goodbody Stockbrokers analyst David O’Brien said the group’s operating profit figure was 5 per cent ahead of his estimate, driven by the Irish business and UK merchanting.

“As has become a hallmark of Grafton’s results, cash generation is stellar with net cash (pre-leases) of £182 million well ahead of our £130 million forecast,” Mr O’Brien said.