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02 Mar 2021 | 09:11

Travis Perkins swings to loss, re-starts Wickes demerger process

(Sharecast News) - Builders' merchant Travis Perkins said on Tuesday that it has re-started the process to demerge Wickes as it said it swung to a full-year loss following disruption from the Covid-19p pandemic. In the year to 31 December 2020, the company swung to a pre-tax loss of £7.7m from a profit of £180.8m the year before, with revenue down 11.5% at £6.2bn.

Travis Perkins said that after an encouraging start to 2020, the first lockdown in the spring "significantly" disrupted its trading and supply chain. Although it recovered well in the second half, led by the domestic Repairs, Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) market, this did not stop overall revenue for the year from declining.

The Wickes business fared well during the year, however, with like-for-like sales up 5.5%, driven by the strength of the core DIY segment, which saw like-for-like growth of 19.3%. Travis Perkins said this trend has continued into 2021.

Chief executive Nick Roberts said 2020 had been a year of "unprecedented challenges".

"Whilst uncertainty remains, we have seen a good recovery through the second half which gives us confidence that the fundamental drivers in our markets are robust. The continuing progress against our strategic plans leaves the group well placed to outperform in those markets," he said.

Travis Perkins also said on Tuesday that the process to demerge Wickes - which was paused at the start of the pandemic - has recommenced.

"The Wickes digitally-led model has proved highly effective during the pandemic and the business is in great shape to embark on its journey as a standalone entity," Roberts said.

The company, which suspended its dividends in March 2020 due to the pandemic, said it plans to reinstate payments this year, assuming there is no further deterioration in the external environment.
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