INSULATION giant SIG reported strong sales over the past ten months thanks to the strength of its European business, but it forecast subdued demand in 2012.
The Sheffield-based company said it expects its UK and Irish markets to show a modest decline compared with 2011, reflecting lower consumer spending and the impact of Government austerity measures.
The company, which has been trading in line with its expectations since August, said it is on track to cut its debt to well below the £163m reported at the end of June.
The group reported an eight per cent increase in sales for the 10 months to the end of October
SIG said it has continued to outperform its markets.
It added that this has not been achieved at the expense of gross margins, which remain at a similar level to last year.
In mainland Europe revenues rose 12 per cent, with France continuing to demonstrate the strongest progress.
In the UK & Ireland revenues from continuing operations rose three per cent.
In line with its strategy of growing the business organically, SIG opened six new branches, of which three were in the UK and three were in France.
SIG said that medium term growth opportunities are more likely to be greater in Mainland Europe than in the UK and Ireland.
The company said that Doug Robertson, who joined the firm as finance director designate on November 1, will take over as finance director and join the group board on December 1.
Current finance director Gareth Davies will step down from the board at the beginning of December.
He will leave the business at the end of the year.
Mr Davies, who is leaving SIG after 18 years with the company, said he wanted a fresh challenge following nine years in the finance director’s role.
Mr Robertson, 57, was finance director of composites distributor Umeco from 2007 to 2011.
Prior to that he had the same role at childcare products firm Seton House Group from 2002 to 2007.
In a separate announcement, SIG said that John Chivers, managing director of the UK Exteriors Division, will step down from the board and leave the company at the end of the year after 10 years as an executive director and 36 years in total with the company.
Chief executive Chris Davies said: “The board would like to thank Gareth and John for the very significant contribution they have each made to the group over the years.”