Building supplies group sees revenues down 10%

Marshalls said group revenue was £199m in the four months to the end of April – a 10% decline over the same period last year.

In a trading update ahead of its annual general meeting this morning, the Elland building supplies group blamed continued week demand in its key end markets of new build and private housing.

It said it had restructured its executive team to prioritise its commercial focus and accelerate key strategies, and expected moderate recovery in the second half of the year, amid general economic improvement and the impact of its own cost reduction. It said the broad remained confident of profits in line with expectations of similar levels to 2023m when its full year adjusted pre-tax profits were £37.2m.

Revenue for its landscape products was down by 15 per cent on a like-for-like basis at £89 million (2023: £110 million). A weaker performance in new build housing and discretionary private housing RMI was moderated by a more modest reduction in commercial & infrastructure revenues.

Building products contracted by three per cent to £54 million (2023: £55 million). Revenue in the civils and drainage business increased year-on-year, supported by increased infrastructure work, and more recently by some improvement in housing groundwork activity.

Bricks and mortar revenues were lower than 2023 due to weaker new build housing activity in the period compared to a relatively strong performance in the same period last year. It increased its share of the UK brick market in the first quarter of 2024.

Roofing products revenue was eight per cent lower at £56 million (2023: £61 million). Within this, Viridian Solar revenue was slightly higher than 2023 despite the significant reduction in new build activity,  driven by the start of the expected increase in volumes arising from a change in building regulations.

The firm said its group balance sheet remained robust, with pre-IFRS16 net debt of £175 million at the end of April, £45 million lower than the previous year reflecting strong cash generation (April 2023: £220 million, December 2023: £173 million).

Its £160 million revolving credit facility was undrawn at the end of April providing significant liquidity for the Group. The Board’s ongoing priority is to reduce leverage from free cash flow generated by the business.

Simon Bourne, previously the group’s chief operating officer, has moved into the role of chief commercial officer, responsible for its commercial strategy and the financial performance of business divisions. He continues as a member of the Marshalls board.