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Travis Perkins became the latest company to blame the weather for hampering its results after the building materials supplier said the recent rain had washed around £10m off its profits.
Revenues at the group fell 0.7 per cent to £2.4bn on a like-for-like basis after a sharp slowdown in the second quarter as unseasonably wet weather hit the construction group in its first-half results.
The effects were felt across the sector as UK construction output fell 5.2 per cent in the second quarter, surprising sector watchers, according to figures released on Wednesday.
Geoff Cooper, chief executive, said: “Whilst weather patterns normally average themselves out over any trading period, it has been difficult to ignore the impact on the results of the first-half trading of the wettest three months since records began”
“This has inhibited construction activity and particularly constrained turnover in our heavy-side related businesses in a market already struggling to recover to more normal levels.”
An exceptional £35m revaluation gain on the group’s investment in Toolstation, the trade and DIY catalogue, boosted profits before tax by a quarter to £161.8m. Excluding exceptional items, however, pre-tax profits fell 1.9 per cent to £137.7m.
Mr Cooper conceded that forecasting was “very difficult while public sector capital construction spending declines and the burden of restarting growth relies on a private sector recovery”. Despite this, the company said it was happy with consensus forecasts.
Overall operating margins at the group fell 0.1 percentage points to 6.3 per cent, with the biggest squeeze in the group’s plumbing and heating division.
Diluted earnings per share rose by a third to 55.3p and the group announced a dividend of 8p, up nearly a quarter from last year. Net debt, meanwhile, fell just under £20m to £563.5m.
Shares in the group opened up 1 per cent at 988p in an otherwise flat London market.