The price of shares in FTSE 100 plumbing and heating products distributor Ferguson PLC (LON:FERG) increased by 5.93% to 7,858p (as of 11:55 BST) despite the firm reporting a 4.8% decline in pre-tax profits for the year ended 31st July. Overall revenues were down by 0.9% but those from ongoing operations improved by 2% as the company improved its US market share.
CEO Kevin Murphy commented: “We have delivered a strong performance in 2020, which given the global pandemic has highlighted the resilience of our business model. Early in the crisis we moved decisively to protect the health and wellbeing of our associates while continuing to serve our customers supporting critical infrastructure. We have rapidly adjusted our ways of working to adapt to this new operating reality while taking action to lower the cost base. We have also managed working capital and capital expenditure which alongside the strong profit delivery has led to an excellent cash performance.
“On an ongoing basis we delivered Group revenue growth and grew trading profit ahead of revenue despite lockdowns in the second half. I would like to thank all of our 34,000 associates for their dedication and commitment during this challenging period. They have demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to an unprecedented change in their personal and professional lives while still delivering outstanding service to our customers.
“We have the necessary safeguards in place to protect our associates and support our customers and the majority of our colleagues are now back at work. We continue to execute our strategy of developing the business through organic growth and given recent better than expected trading we are now proposing to reinstate ordinary dividends.
“It is impossible to predict the future progress of the virus, or its economic impact and we expect the current levels of uncertainty to continue for the foreseeable future. However, the fundamental aspects of our business model remain attractive and since the start of the new financial year Ferguson has generated low single digit revenue growth in the US in flat markets overall. While we remain cautious on the outlook for the year as a whole, the business is in good shape and well prepared to address any further market related disruption“.