- DIY Group Grafton said Thursday pre-tax profits rose 17% as revenues boosted by 'fast' growth in Irish and Dutch markets and 'strong' demand fundamentals in the UK market.

For the 12 months to 31 December, reported profit before tax rose 17% to £181.3m from a year earlier and revenue grew 9% to £2.95bn.

Organic growth in the merchanting, retailing and manufacturing businesses and the Leyland SDM acquisition contributed to the improved outcome, the company said.

Operating profit grew 14% in the UK, 25% in Ireland and 27% in the Netherlands.

A second interim dividend of 12.00p was declated, up from 10.25p last year, taking the total dividends for the year to 18.00p, up 16.1% on last year's 15.5p a share.

Looking ahead, the company activity in the UK merchanting market was expected to be slightly weaker in the current year with 'housing RMI activity overall likely to be modestly lower on the basis of recent trends in the economy generally and housing transactions and mortgage approvals.'

'The merchanting and DIY markets in Ireland should continue to benefit from the positive outlook for the economy although some moderation in the pace of growth in consumer spending is anticipated. Forward looking indicators point to sustained growth in house building and growth in overall building and construction.'

'The outlook for the Netherlands economy remains favourable with growth set to continue though easing slightly. Increased disposable income in a tight labour market should be supportive of growth in the new housing market and broadly based investment in property renovation.'

At 9:23am: [LON:GFTU] Grafton Group PLC share price was +5.75p at 795.75p

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