Grafton Group, the builders merchants and DIY retailing group, said on Thursday that its adjusted operating profit rose 68 per cent to £288 million (€345.4m) last year, fuelled by record contributions from its Woodies’s unit in the Republic and Selco builders supplies business in the UK.
The profit figure was 4 per cent above the company’s latest guidance issued in mid-January, which itself was an upgrade from forecasts made in November.
Chief executive Gavin Slark said that trading so far this year "has been encouraging" and the outlook for 2022 was positive, supported by strong housing and repair, maintenance and improvement markets, the "inherent strength" of its businesses, its strong balance sheet and future investment opportunities.
Woodie’s DIY, which makes up 13 per cent of group revenue, saw its sales jump 19.4 per cent on a constant-currency basis to £282.8 million, while its operating profit soared 27.2 per cent to £50.9 million as it was classified as an essential retailer and remained open during the national lockdown.
The group’s largest division, UK distribution, delivered a 30 per cent increase in revenues to £282.9 million, while its adjusted operating profit more than doubled to £113 million, driven by its Selco Builders Warehouse brand.
The results exclude Grafton's long underperforming British traditional merchanting business, including the Buildbase, Timber Group and Bathroom Distribution Group brands, which it sold in December for £520 million to Welsh-based peer Huws Gray.
Its Irish distribution unit, trading under the Chadwicks banner, delivered 68.7 per cent operating profit growth to £68.2 million, while its Dutch business saw profits rise 10.8 per cent on the year to €30.5 million.
Last year also saw Grafton acquire Finland-based IKH, one of that country’s largest workwear and personal protective equipment, tools and accessories, technical wholesalers and distributors, for €199.3 million, a move that gave Grafton a presence in Scandinavia for the first time.