Travis Perkins earnings helped by recovering UK housing market

LONDON Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:46am EST

LONDON Feb 26 (Reuters) - Travis Perkins, Britain's No. 1 supplier of building materials, posted a 14.3 percent rise in earnings per share in 2013, helped by an increase in construction activity on the back of a recovering housing market.

The group, which entered the FTSE 100 index of Britain's largest companies in June, said on Wednesday the sales momentum of the second half of 2013 had continued into 2014.

Travis Perkins made adjusted earnings per share of 103.6 pence in the year to Dec. 31, ahead of analysts' average forecast of about 100 pence and 90.6 pence in 2012.

Adjusted profit before tax rose 12.4 percent to 321 million pounds ($535.5 million) as revenue increased 6.3 percent to 5.1 billion pounds.

The number of property transactions in Britain is growing and banks approved more mortgages in January than in any month since September 2007, just after the start of the financial crisis, data showed on Tuesday, fuelling concern that the housing market may be overheating.

"The group is well placed to benefit from the upturn in UK building activity and in particular the strength of housing transactions," said Chief Executive John Carter, who succeeded Geoff Cooper in January.

He said capital expenditure is expected to increase to 130-150 million pounds in 2014.

In December Carter detailed Travis' strategic ambitions. He targeted a continuing outperformance of the wider market and "double digit" underlying earnings growth over the medium term.

Travis proposed a final dividend of 21 pence, up 24 percent, giving a full year payout of 31 pence.

Shares in the group, which have risen 55 percent over the last year, closed Tuesday at 1,963 pence, valuing the business at 4.8 billion pounds.