Hardware distribution specialist expects £9m profit for 2007 despite disappointing sales in north America

Specialist hardware distributions business Heywood Williams said trading in 2007 was satisfactory given market conditions.

In a trading update the group said strong results in its UK and Europe specialist hardware distribution businesses helped mitigate the effects of a difficult manufactured housing market in north America.

Sales in its UK and Europe specialist distribution businesses, which serve the new-build and home improvement markets, have increased 37% to about £130m compared with 2006.

However it said 2007 earnings in specialist north American distribution business LaSalle Bristol, which serves the manufactured housing market, will be lower than 2006 although it continues to remain profitable.

It is expected the group’s 2007 pre-tax profit will be at least £9m.

The group said the £15.6m acquisition of Avenco group of companies, supplier of architectural hardware in the Republic of Ireland, had been well received and provided a platform to introduce new product ranges from Carlisle Brass.

It expects the favourable trends will continue in 2008, helped by sourcing products for its hardware division from low cost countries.

The 2007 full year results are scheduled to be announced on Tuesday 4 March.