Group revenue has jumped 7.8% at Forterra plc, the Northampton-based producer of manufactured masonry products, according to a trading update for the four months ended 30 April 2019.
The news comes after the brickmaker received planning consent (subject to legal agreement) for a new £95m brick facility at its existing site at Desford, Leicestershire. The investment will lead to the construction of the largest and most efficient brick factory in Europe capable of producing up to 180 million bricks per annum. The firm says that contracts for the building work and equipment supply and installation are being finalised.
Forterra, in a statement to London Stock Exchange, said: “Trading during the period has been in line with management’s expectations, underpinned by continuing positive levels of activity in the new build housing market, with brick sales volumes modestly ahead of last year.
“Precast concrete floor beam volumes in the period have been good, providing an encouraging forward indicator for housebuilding activity. As reported previously, price increases for the year have been agreed with most major customers to offset the increase in the cost base.
“Group revenue for the four months was 7.8% ahead of the same period in 2018, reflecting the positive start to 2019 and also the weather-affected weaker comparative. The Group continues to generate good levels of operating cashflow, despite an expected increase in working capital due to the spring selling season.
“The productivity improvements seen in Bison Precast in the last quarter of 2018 have been sustained during the year to date, and the business has achieved contract wins supporting future sales volumes in hollowcore, beam and bespoke precast products.
“Whilst we remain watchful of the impact of the current uncertainty on our end markets, based on the good start to the year as well as indications of demand from major customers, the Board’s expectations for the full year remain unchanged.”