SIG sales defy the weather

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BUILDING materials supplier SIG’s group sales for the first four months of the year were just ahead of last year’s figures, despite severe weather conditions in the UK and Europe.

The Sheffield-based firm said in an interim management statement yesterday that group sales per day in constant currency for the first four months of 2012 were just under 1 per cent ahead of the same period last year.

But the company said that as a result of the weakening euro, total group sales in sterling during the period fell by slightly less than 1 per cent.

Severe winter conditions across mainland Europe in February and the wettest April on record in the UK resulted in reduced activity in the outside building trades, particularly affecting sales in the group’s roofing arm. The group said turnover in the UK was around 1 per cent lower on a sales per day basis in the period since January 1.

SIG, which trades from around 710 locations across Europe and employs 10,600 across the continent, saw overall sales buoyed by a stronger performance in Germany and France. In mainland Europe, sales per day grew by around 3 per cent, SIG said, with France and Benelux – Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – performing particularly well.

Andy Brown, analyst at brokers Panmure Gordon, maintained his ‘buy’ recommendation on SIG’s shares and said: “We stay positive, due to clear strategic objectives in structurally growing markets.”

Looking ahead, the group said it expects market volumes will be slightly down overall in 2012, with demand patterns during the year likely to be uneven and not helped by the continuing wet weather in early May.