Construction products firm reports 7% fall in sales in 2009 as bad weather inhibits building site activity

Specialist construction products firm SIG has blamed extremely cold weather in Europe in the first quarter of 2009 for a fall in demand for its products.

Sales were down by 7.2% for 1 January to 12 May 2009, compared with the same period in 2008.

Trading in mainland Europe, which accounts for 50% of the group's sales, was particularly hard hit by the inhibiting effect of the cold weather on outside building site activity, said SIG in a trading update.

Cold weather suppressed activity among outdoor building trades

The weather improved in April but trading had yet to settle into a consistent pattern, it said. Poland and other smaller central European markets failed to show the usual level of seasonal improvement in April, suggesting stalling demand in the region.

In the UK, SIG said it had experienced a sluggish start to the year, exacerbated by bad weather in February. Activity levels picked up in most segments during March but progress for the firm later became “patchy” again in April.

The firm said that around 1,900 employees had been made redundant in the UK and Europe in a bid to save costs. It has also closed and merged several branches of its UK business units.

The group also announced a series of a series of board appointments, bringing three new people to its board as non-executive directors, including Chris Geoghegan, a non-executive director of Kier Group.

Vanda Murray, a non-executive director of Carillion, has also been appointed, alongside Jonathan Nicholls, group finance director of Hanson.