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Travis Perkins first half profit up 24pc

Pre-tax profits at builders merchant Travis Perkins jumped 23.7 per cent to £111.8m, in the six months to 30 June, up from £90.4 million the previous year, the firm revealed today.

Turnover at the merchanting firm was £1.522 billion, a 4.7 per cent increase on the £1.454bn revenue for the same period in 2009.

Travis Perkins chief executive Geoff Cooper said: “We have performed ahead of our expectations in the first half of 2010. We remain determined to further develop our customer propositions via an exciting programme of organic growth initiatives with the aim of stretching our lead over competitors.”

“While we continue to see modest market growth following a severe recession, we view the future with confidence.”

The first six months of the year saw a gradual return of confidence in the market, which was hit very hard in the recession.

The firm has resumed paying a dividend to shareholders, which is an indication that the firm is confident the market will not deteriorate from here.

It is also investing in its retail offering, increasing capacity and targeting higher levels of customer service as sales volumes increase.

After generating positive cash flows in the first half of the year, ned deby has been reduced by £102.8m and now stands at £410.5m.

It said sales recovered strongly from March this year and this has continued into July, however, this recovery is expected to tail off in the near future.

The statement describes the current market as “miserable”, which is positive in that the situation in 2009 was “appalling”.

The market is still uncertain and the firm expects the recovery from here to be gradual and uneven.

Earlier in the year, Travis Perkins agreed terms with the directors of BSS for a £553m acquisition. This is progressing well, but exceptional costs of £4.6m have been incurred in the half year, with total bid related costs expecte to be £18m by the year end, assuming the transaction completes.