Products distributor is hit by sub-prime crisis in North America as pretax profit falls by 3.2%

Building products distributor Heywood Williams Group reported a 3.2% fall in full-year pretax profit and predicted tough market conditions for the year ahead.

Pre-tax profit to the year ended 31 December 2007 was £9.1m, down from £9.4m for the same period in the previous year.

It said the fall was principally due reduced earnings at LaSalle Bristol in North America, caused by the effects of the sub-prime lending market on the manufactured housing industry – its main customer base in the area.

Despite this, it said LaSalle Bristol outperformed the market and the company would remain resilient in the year ahead with strong cash management, a new product pipeline and cost reduction plans.

Chief executive Robert Barr said: “The board believes that the group will continue to demonstrate its resilience in 2008. The group has leading market positions, a record of strong cash management, an excellent new product pipeline and rigorous cost reduction plans are being implemented.”