- International builders' merchant and DIY group Grafton says group revenue for 2016 was £2.51 billion, an increase of 13.4% on revenue of £2.21 billion in 2015 and 10.4% in constant currency.

Merchanting represents 92% of the group's revenue and Grafton said Selco outperformed the UK merchanting market with good revenue gains in the established branches and growth from new branches.

Expansion of the Selco branch network gathered pace with the opening of seven branches, including branches in Croydon and Wembley in December, increasing the network to 47 in 2016.

The current programme of expansion, which reflects the success of Selco's trade only model that services the more resilient residential RMI market, will continue in 2017 with the planned opening of at least ten branches.

Grafton said the rate of revenue growth picked-up in the last quarter in the traditional UK merchanting business, which trades mainly under the Buildbase and Plumbase brands, although the market remained very price competitive. The restructuring plan announced in the half year results was successfully implemented. The Group's market leading merchanting business in Ireland outperformed a recovering construction market, driven principally by growth in residential RMI activity, and reported double digit like-for-like revenue growth for the third successive year.

The Netherlands Merchanting business, acquired in November 2015, performed well supported by good economic growth and a strong recovery in the residential new build and RMI markets.

The Group announced on 18 November 2016 that it had signed an agreement to acquire Gunters en Meuser, a distributor of tools fixings and ironmongery from 14 branches. This transaction has now completed and provides the Netherlands business with a strong presence in the Greater Amsterdam Area where Gunters en Meuser is the market leader.

The Belgian Merchanting business continued to experience difficult market conditions with softening demand, especially for larger project work.

Retailing (6% of group revenue): The Woodie's DIY business in Ireland reported a solid increase in volumes benefiting from the initiatives undertaken in recent years to improve the customer proposition and a more favourable retail market.

Manufacturing (2% of group revenue): The UK mortar manufacturing business experienced stronger demand in the second-half of the year from its house builder customer base and also increased revenue from the acquisition in 2015 of a packaged mortar products business.

Chief executive Gavin Slark said: "The Group finished the year on a more positive note and saw the benefit during 2016 of its exposure to multiple markets. We had an active year on the development front with the opening of seven new Selco branches, the completion of two bolt-on acquisitions in the UK and we agreed to acquire Gunters en Meuser in the Netherlands. A strong balance sheet and excellent cash generation from operations support these developments and our ongoing strategic initiatives."

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