But firm says materials shortages driving up prices

The ongoing building boom helped turnover at Travis Perkins top pre-pandemic levels with the builders merchant seeing revenue hit £2.3bn in the half year to June.

It said like-for-like income growth was up 44% on last year when the firm was forced to shut stores and depots because of the covid-19 pandemic while revenue was up 10.7% on 2019 levels.

travis perkins

Travis Perkins said shortages on some materials meant costs had tripled in the second quarter of the year

But it warned that business at its biggest arm, general merchanting, was being affected by the materials shortage with timber and plasterboard especially hit. It added price inflation at the division had jumped as a result from 2% in the first three months of the year to 7% in the following quarter.

It added: “The merchanting businesses have managed the issues well, working closely with customers and suppliers to ensure a fair outcome for all.”

The firm, which demerged its Wickes DIY business in the spring, said workloads were being driven by strong demand from the commercial and domestic RMI markets.

Adjusted operating profit bounced back from the £17m it made last year to £164m with the firm now revising previous full-year estimates up to £310m which it said was because of the profit it expected to make on the sale of its properties following a restructuring which saw it close 190 branches and axe 2,500 jobs last year.

At the height of the pandemic, the firm furloughed around 15,000 staff but at the end of last year returned the £50m it claimed in government support as well as settling a £107m deferred VAT bill.

The firm said pre-tax profit in the first half was £100m, compared to the £86m pre-tax loss it racked up for the same period last year.

It added that completion of the sale of its plumbing and heating business to private equity firm HIG Capital for £325m is expected to be completed by the end of September.