BSS upbeat despite 23pc drop in profits

PLUMBING specialist BSS remained positive yesterday despite posting a 23 per cent fall in profits last year as the company navigated its way through one of the toughest years in the last seven decades.

The Leicester-based group said pre-tax profits for 2009, which fell to £44.2m from £57.8m, were less than it would have liked but argued that the outcome was better than peers, who had to undertake rights issues and stop paying dividends.

Chief executive Gavin Slark said the group’s confidence in future performance was up after its final dividend climbed by 10 per cent to 6.09p.

“BSS has delivered sector leading results with revenue growth and earnings resilience despite the toughest year for the economy in more than 70 years,” said Slark.

The group, which saw overall revenue for the year remain relatively flat at £1.35bn, said that income trends were beginning to improve as the year progressed.

Revenue during the second half of the year climbed by 7.2 per cent to £701.8m, with domestic heating and plumbing already showing signs of early cycle recovery.

BSS said it plans to focus on growing new income streams.