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Tue November 28 2023

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Headwinds slow brick and block market

22 Oct 19 Forterra, the heavy materials supplier formerly called Hanson Building Products, has issued a warning that its markets are now in decline.

Forterra is the sole manufacturer of London Brick
Forterra is the sole manufacturer of London Brick

Brick sales are down and precast concrete sales have slowed, Forterra said in a trading update today, in line with an overall market decline.

“While volumes into the new build housing market have remained broadly in line with plan, trading in relation to distributors and non-residential applications has slowed," it said. "Key indicators such as UK national brick sales volumes, construction output, new housing starts, housing transactions and consumer confidence also point to further uncertainty in macroeconomic conditions.”

It added: “Precast concrete sales have slowed in recent weeks despite good growth earlier in the year. Whilst a sustained improvement in productivity has now been achieved, the Bison precast business is unlikely to deliver the level of margin growth anticipated in the second half as a result of delays in a number of large contracts.”

As a result, it said, this year’s profit before tax was likely to be ‘modestly below’ last year's £64.8m.

Despite the headwinds, construction of the new £95m brick facility at Desford is progressing to plan with site clearance completed and foundations under way. The new plant remains on course to fire up in 2022.

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