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Chris Davies
Chris Davies
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Leading European specialist building products distributor SIG has announced pre-tax profits of £25.2 million for the six months to the end of June after making a loss of £600,000 during the same period last year.

The Sheffield-based group’s sales fell from £1,343.7 million to £1,292.6m, but chief executive Chris Davies, right, said the group had enhanced the quality of its sales, improved gross margin and “maintained a firm stance on credit.”

SIG says it is planning to cut costs by £7 million next year – a rise on savings of £5 million that it hopes to achieve this year, having already reduced costs by £2.5 million in the first half of the year.

“The Group has delivered a resilient performance in the first half, slightly improving underlying profit before tax in constant currency and increasing return on capital employed despite a weaker trading environment, poor weather and strong comparators,” said Mr Davies.

“We continue to expect market volumes to decline slightly this year and against this background are focused on improving the Group’s performance, outperforming our markets and implementing further self-help measures.”

SIG opened 15 new branches and made one acquisition during the first half, increasing its total number of branches to 725.

The company said the Olympics had little discernible effect on its UK operations and has announced an interim dividend of 1p, up from 0.75p for the same period last year.