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BSS Group turnover drops 4pc in first half

Plumbing, heating and industrial equipment merchants BSS Group said its turnover has held firm despite tough trading conditions over the past six months.

In a trading update for the six months to 30 September 2009, BSS said turnover had fallen by 4 per cent for the period to £608.7 million.

BSS said it had adapted to market challenges by scaling down resource and re-deploying where appropriate; whilst still investing in growth initiatives.

Costs for the period are in excess of 8 per cent down on the prior year. The firm’s workforce was cut by 3.5 per cent over the past six months with 170 redundancies bringing exceptional redundancy costs of just over £1 million for the half.

Relative to last year, the group’s domestic division’s revenue continues to outperform the market and the seasonal lift in the industrial division’s repair and maintenance business during July and August occurred as expected, albeit marginally later than last year.

The specialist division had a tough half with contraction in manufacturing and construction activity adversely affecting trade.

The firm said: “The BSS Group remains well positioned to meet the challenges of a changing market place. The group continues to show encouraging revenue resilience in its markets and is actively pursuing new growth opportunities to offset the expected impact of contracting public sector activity beyond the current financial year.

“The board continues to anticipate that financial year 2009/10 will be a year of weaker demand, that the group will continue to grow market share and achieve further improvements in productivity and efficiency that will help protect current year earnings.”

Bosses said BSS’ financial position remains strong with the group anticipated to be cash positive in the financial year 2009/10.