Britain’s Travis Perkins restarts Wickes demerger process

LONDON (Reuters) – Travis Perkins, Britain’s biggest seller of building materials, has restarted the process of demerging its Wickes home improvement business, it said on Tuesday.

A signage is pictured at a building of Travis Perkins, a timber and building merchants yard in St Albans, Britain October 22, 2020. REUTERS/Paul Childs

The group put the process on hold at the start of the pandemic last March.

“The Wickes digitally led model has proved highly effective during the pandemic and the business is in great shape to embark on its journey as a standalone entity,” said CEO Nick Roberts.

Travis Perkins trades from more than 20 businesses including the builders merchants Wickes and Toolstation.

It said 2020 adjusted operating profit fell 48.6% to 227 million pounds ($315 million), reflecting lower volumes during the crisis.

Revenue fell 11.5% to 6.16 billion pounds, with like-for-like sales down 7.1%.

However, the group said Wickes took market share in the do-it-yourself (DIY) market with like-for-like revenue growth of 19.3%.

“Whilst uncertainty remains, we have seen a good recovery through the second half which gives us confidence that the fundamental drivers in our markets are robust,” Roberts said.

Shares in Travis Perkins, up 10% this year, closed on Monday at 1,438 pence, valuing the business at 3.7 billion pounds.

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($1 = 0.7207 pounds)

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Michael Holden and Jason Neely

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