Brickmaker Forterra boosted by high housebuilder demand in late 2016

 
Oliver Gill
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In the US, some people like to show just how much they love bricks (Source: Getty)

Shares in Britain's second largest brickmaker cemented gains made in 2016 and jumped nearly four per cent after announcing full-year results would be in line with forecasts.

Forterra said brick sales in the last two months of 2016 were ahead of the same period in the previous year.

The firm, which listed in April, went on a push in the second half of 2016 to flog excess bricks built up at its factories. Forterra said it had seen "good levels of activity from major housebuilders and merchants" to address the excess brick supply.

Clyde Lewis, an analyst at Peel Hunt, said: "Industry statistics show November [brick sales] were up around 35 per cent such that the rolling annual statistics are showing a 4.4 per cent increase in bricks volumes."

Read more: Forterra cements cash returns

Keen to prove bricks can float, a key strategic objective of the firm since listing has been to reduce the firm's lending.

In April its net debt to earnings multiple – effectively the number of years of earnings required to pay down lending – stood at 2.2.

This fell to 1.7 times in November and the firm today revealed it had dropped again to 1.5 times. "This represents significant deleveraging in less than a year," the firm said.

"The group has finished the year with net debt of around £93m, comfortably better than our £109m estimate," said Lewis

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