The Group has made excellent progress during H1 2021, building on the decisive actions taken over the preceding two years to strengthen the business and focus on the trade. The Group’s end markets remain resilient, despite high levels of uncertainty across the economy as a whole, and the Group’s businesses have responded well to the challenging market dynamics over the past six months.
The Wickes demerger was completed successfully, swiftly followed by the sale of the Plumbing & Heating business, during a period where relentless focus was required on operational matters, in particular colleague, customer and supplier safety.
Delivering a strong operational performance at the same time as managing significant portfolio change reflects the talent and capability within the Group and the benefits of more focused management teams, enhanced communication and local branches empowered to make decisions to meet changing customer needs.
Having maintained strong financial health through the pandemic, the Group remains well placed both to invest in growth opportunities and to provide attractive returns. The Board is pleased to confirm the reinstatement of dividends with the interim dividend at 12.0 pence per share. In addition, the net proceeds of the Plumbing & Heating segment disposal will be returned in full to shareholders.