In a trading update, SIG said that group sales in 2016 were approximately £2,738m. This is up 11.2% on 2015, but only due to foreign exchange movements (+6.9%), acquisitions (+3.7%), and additional working days (0.3%). On a like-for-like basis, group sales increased by just 0.3%.
As previously indicated, underlying profit before tax for 2016 will be within the £75m to £80m range when the full results are posted in March.
In the UK & Ireland like-for-like sales in the year increased 1.1%, with SIG Distribution up 1.2% and SIG Exteriors down 1.5%. In mainland Europe like-for-like sales declined 0.5%.
Chief executive Mel Ewell said: “2016 was a disappointing year for SIG. While the competitive environment, particularly in the UK, was challenging, our transformational change programme, although taking the group in the right strategic direction, distracted us somewhat from our customers.
"Going forward we need to better balance business change with the day-to-day operations of the group. Our principal aims for 2017 are therefore to restore our customer focus, place an increased emphasis on sales growth, and reduce leverage.”
Mel Ewell was previously chief executive of Amey. He has been acting as interim chief executive of SIG since Stuart Mitchell stepped down in November 2016, having been on the scene as a non-executive director of SIG. [See previous report here.]