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Grafton hits sluggish UK market

Irish materials firm and builders' merchant Grafton said it was on course to meet market expectations this morning despite softer trading in the UK.
The firm's UK turnover reached £550 million but it added that like for like sales for the first half of 2006 were modestly down on the comparatively strong first six months of 2005.

But Grafton - which is bedding in seven acquisitions in the period worth £24 million - said stronger conditions in Ireland saw good growth in its Chadwicks and Heiton Buckley merchanting operations.

The company is also expecting £17 million in windfall profits from its property disposal programme.