SIG sees progress despite tough times in the construction trade

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Specialist building products group SIG expects to make further progress this year even though tough times will continue to affect the construction trade.

The Sheffield group, which announced it was targeting cost savings totalling £7 million in August, says it has since identified further efficiencies in its branch network, which will save an additional £3 million.

The company adds, in a trading update for the year to the end of 2012 that it also expects to have reduced net debt to £110 million, despite having spent £8 million on new acquisitions.

SIG says total revenues in 2012 were flat at around £2,635 million on a constant currency basis, but fell four per cent in sterling, due to exchange rate movements. The company expects underlying profit before tax to be no less than £82 million for the year.

Looking to the future, SIG anticipates a reduction in volumes for its SIG Energy Management business, which supplies environmentally-friendly, sustainable building products and sustainable technologies like solar cells and heating panels, heat pumps, underfloor heating and home insulation.

It says the reduction is caused by the end of a government programme which required domestic energy suppliers to make savings in the amount of CO2 emitted by householders, and the likely slow start of the successor Green Deal scheme.

SIG has agreed to sell its Czech and Slovak businesses, which together account for one per cent of the group’s revenues. Buyers are the Woodcote Group, the Eastern European building materials distributor which used to be part of Wolseley plc.

SIG says it has decided to concentrate on further strengthening its position in Poland and will focus management and resources on that market.