- Revenue increased by 4.6%, like-for-like revenue up 2.7% (6.6% two-year like-for-like)
- Adjusted operating profit, excluding property profits, increased by £3m to £392m (2015: £389m)
- The balance sheet was further strengthened with net debt reduced by £69m to £378m
- Strong free cash flow generation of £436m at a cash conversion rate of 107% (2015: 77%), used to fund £187m of growth capital expenditure
- Full-year dividend increased 2.3% to 45.0p per share, reflecting confidence in cash generation
- Network expansion continued, with net 25 new branches and stores opened (82 gross)
- Lease adjusted return on capital employed reduced to 10.9% reflecting continued investment in network expansion, store refits and IT which will underpin future earnings growth and cash generation
- An exceptional non-cash impairment charge of £235m has been taken against the goodwill and intangible and tangible assets, principally in the plumbing & heating and tile businesses
- An exceptional charge was taken to the income statement of £57m to cover the previously announced closure of underperforming branches, supply chain rationalisation and central restructuring.
John Carter - Chief Executive Officer said:
"2016 was another solid year for the Group, with continued strong performances from the Consumer, Contracts and General Merchanting divisions, which together contributed 90% of Group adjusted operating profit. These businesses continued to benefit from the investments made in the branch network and customer propositions over the last three years, which provides a strong base for future growth.
It was a much more difficult year for the Plumbing & Heating division driven by structural challenges for traditional merchant businesses in this segment. Whilst the network restructuring work carried out in 2014 and 2015 created a more focused branch network, further work is required and over the next six months we will be exploring all routes to enhance returns. There are improvements we can make to the ranges we offer to our customers, our availability, our online presence and our service proposition.
The macro-economic outlook of the UK is mixed. The sharp decline in the value of Sterling since June 2016 has created cost pressures on imported goods and materials, and the expectations for secondary housing market transactions and growth in the RMI market have weakened. We have a proven track record of managing our cost base and took decisive action in October 2016, announcing a restructuring programme to close underperforming branches and improve supply chain efficiency. We enter 2017 with a strong balance sheet and will continue to invest selectively in our leading businesses to further strengthen our competitive advantages which will enable us to continue to outperform and drive shareholder value over the medium term."