Grafton Group has revealed an operating profit of €14.8m for the six months to June 30, after making an €8.3m loss last year.
Turnover was €979m, down from €990m last year, while gross margin increased by 26 basis points and like-for-like costs reduced by €22.6m.
According to the interim statement released yesterday, the company's UK merchanting division saw turnover increase by 5% to €678.5m. Two small businesses were acquired during the period and one branch was opened.
Executive chairman Michael Chadwick said: "The market challenges faced by the group over recent years eased considerably in the first half. Losses in Irish merchanting were much reduced and operating profit in UK merchanting increased strongly. The improved trends in group turnover were sustained in July and August. Grafton's profits are now recovering and we expect further profit improvement in the second half. A good base has been established from which renewed growth in earnings can be generated over the coming years as market conditions normalise."