Grafton witnessing recovery in its markets

Home improvement and building supplies group Grafton said recovery in Britain, its main market, is likely to be sustained, while the Irish market is showing the first tentative signs of recovery from a long slump.

Grafton has weathered the collapse in housebuilding in Ireland through an expansion in Britain, which now accounts for over 90 per cent of its profits.

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The third-largest building merchant in Britain said yesterday it was considering moving its listing from Dublin to London.

It posted a 17 per cent rise in underlying operating profit to 36.6 million euros ($49m) for the first six months of the year as revenues increased by almost 2 per cent and sharp cost cuts that it made during the downturn took effect.

Chief executive Gavin Slark said the general economic picture in Britain, together with the government’s Help to Buy, gave cause for optimism.