News Column

James Latham Ups Total Dividend As Profit Rises

June 26, 2014

Hana Stewart-Smith

LONDON (Alliance News) - James Latham PLC Thursday upped its total dividend for the year to end-March as pretax profit rose, boosted by a benefit from alterations to its pension scheme and revenue growth.

The wood materials distributor proposed a total dividend of 11.4 pence, up from 10.2 pence.

The company posted a pretax profit of GBP10.5 million, up from GBP7.0 million in the previous year, as revenue rose to GBP163.1 million from GBP143.1 million, although this was somewhat offset by higher cost of sales. The company saw an exceptional benefit of GBP1.8 million from alterations to its pension scheme.

Revenue growth was driven by increased volumes in its ex-warehouse and direct business, as well as a strong performance from its Timber business. Timber and panel prices were steady throughout the year, it said.

Sales of Focus panel products rose 11% over the year, and commodity plywood sales also grew significantly.

James Latham said that it had seen a steady start to the new year, with revenues up 6% in April and May compared to the previous year in its panels and timber business. The company said this was a sign of customer confidence, which supports cautious optimism despite lingering uncertainty about future market conditions.

It also noted an increased demand in joinery and shop-fitting sectors for its core timber products, and also noted that mild weather had helped boost sales of decking and cladding products.

The panels market remains competitive, James Latham said, as supply of medium-density fibreboard continued to outweigh demand.

Shares in James Latham were trading down 1.9% at 505.00 pence Thursday.

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Source: Alliance News