Historic builder’s merchant JT Dove posted revenues of £33.8m in latest accounts – a lift of 17.5% – as the firm took advantage of construction sector growth.
Results published for 2013 show the Newcastle-based business grew sales and profits considerably, with gross profit rising 17.4% from £7.72m to £9.06m.
Pre-tax profits almost trebled to £856,991 – a lift that means all members of staff who were with the company throughout the year received a profit share of 6% on their annual salaries – an average of £1,400 in their pay packet.
The payments were made to staff following a move in 1954 by founder Herbert Dove and his wife to place the business into an Employee Benefit Trust, a trust similar to the John Lewis Partnership so that when it makes a profit the staff can share in its success.
Overall, the company said it performed strongly after a slow first quarter triggered by poor weather and saw improvements in both the building materials and plumbing and heating sides of the business, helped by the improving economic environment.
The strategic report accompanying the report details how the positive performance follows efforts to improve its branch network, which expanded to include sites at Hetton le Hole and Galashiels.
The 145-year-old firm now operates 15 branches and is growing organically as it creates jobs for merchant trainees, increasing headcount from 168 to 175 during the 12-month period.
The report said: “Overall, the builders merchant branches saw a good increase in sales and the plumbing and heating branches continued to mature, again seeing growth in excess of 30%.
“After a period of decline, direct contract sales saw encouraging growth. Despite certain unavoidable cost increases in 2014 we expect a further improvement in performance in the coming year.”
Managing director Steve Robinson said the positivity has continued into 2014.
He said: “2013 saw an improvement in trading and profitability; this has continued and assisted by a mild winter and the general improvement in the economic climate we have seen growth in both sales and profitability in 2014 to date in excess of our budget expectations.
“As an Employee Benefit Trust the benefit of this is shared with all members of staff”.
Dove’s results came as a key industry survey showed construction activity growing at its fastest rate for eight months. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply’s survey showed construction was close to its strongest performance since 2007.