Lathams reports annual profit rise

25 June 2015

Timber importer and distributor James Latham plc has announced a £1.4m increase in group pre-tax profits to £10.1m for the financial year ended March 31.

Group turnover was £174.9m, 7.2% up on last year’s £163.1m.

“Revenue continued to grow during the year due to increased volumes both in ex-warehouse and direct business,” said chairman Peter Latham.

“Year on year growth was slightly lower in the second half of the year, because 2013/14 had been a very strong final quarter, however, both panels and timber grew revenues throughout the year. The gross margin per cent, before warehouse costs, increased by 0.4 percentage points, due to a better product mix.

“In addition, timber and panel prices remained steady throughout the year. Focus panel products including melamine panels and door blanks, continued to show good growth.

“Accoya modified wood and WoodEx, our brand of engineered timber for the joinery sector, were particularly successful this year.

“Overheads have been controlled, and are within our budget forecast, but higher than last year’s due to the extra volumes, smaller order size and later order times for next day delivery.”

This year revenues are 7% higher for April and May than the corresponding period last year, both in panels and timber and the gross margin is also higher.

“It is a steady start to the year and generally customers are busier than they were for the final quarter of last year,” added Mr Latham.

“The panels market remains particularly competitive, although we are seeing encouraging growth in the newer decorative products we have introduced.”

Lathams is drawing up plans to upgrade its two older sites at Yate and Wigston over the next two to three years.