Decking and I-joist sales continue to remain strong for Travis Perkins plc, which has posted a 17% rise in annual pre-tax profits to £190m.

The company, whose sales grew by 9% to £1.82bn in 2004, said finished timber sales have performed better than sawn wood carcassing, with consumer trends continuing to benefit products such as decking.

Timber and wood product sales within the Travis Perkins branch network in 2004 were about 18-19% of all sales, while the recently-acquired Wickes chain’s timber turnover was higher at 23%. The sales were “slightly ahead” of 2003.

Tim Stevenson, the group’s chairman, said he was “delighted” with the results and predicted further earnings growth from the £950m acquisition of Wickes.

He said: “We will continue to grow our business by investing in a plentiful supply of opportunities for Travis Perkins acquisitions and for new sites for both Wickes and for merchant branches.”

Mr Stevenson said the addition of Wickes had given the group entrance into a new market (the DIY sector) which has strong long-term growth characteristics and store expansion potential.

He said the company had made a good start to 2005, with repair, maintenance and improvement trade ahead of expectations.

Timber procurement proved a major focus for the group in 2004, the company achieving both Forest Stewardship Council and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes chain of custody certification for all its its Travis Perkins and Keyline branches selling timber products.

Travis Perkins’ branch network grew to 751 in 2004, up from 750 in 2003.