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BSS Group expecting turnover in line with last year's £1.34bn

Plumbing and heating supplies firm BSS Group today said it is expecting its turnover for the year to 31 March 2010 to be marginally above last year’s £1.34 billion.

In a pre-close trading update ahead of the group’s full year results on 25 May 2010 BSS said its performance has improved as the financial year progressed.

Like for like revenue in the second half of the financial year is expected to be up 1.1 per cent against a 6.8 per cent like for like decrease in the first half.  

The firm saw fourth quarter like for like sales growth of 5.1 per cent against a like for like sales decrease of 2.6 per cent in the third quarter. 

Leicester-based BSS is a specialist distributor of heating, ventilation, plumbing, tools, pipeline, industrial supplies and mechanical services equipment.

A sustained period of cold weather and the boiler scrappage scheme benefited the domestic division.

The core repair and maintenance business that underpins turnover has remained resilient throughout the financial year and new sales initiatives, including heating spares, renewables and above ground drainage, are continuing to show encouraging progress.

The gross margin percentage in the year is expected to be lower than last year reflecting competitive market conditions, increased contract sales and strong trading performance from F & P Wholesale.

In the trading update the directors said: “Gross margin improvement in the new financial year is a key priority.

“Costs have been tightly managed throughout the year. We expect like for like costs, excluding new branches and acquired businesses, to be around 6 per cent below last year.

“The board anticipates that earnings in the current year, after exceptional costs and amortisation of acquired intangibles, will be not less than market expectations.”

BSS said its net debt at 31 March 2010 will be around last year’s closing level of £86 million.

During the year BSS spent £12 million on acquisitions and in excess of £9 million on dividends.