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Travis Perkins expects boost from insulation drive

The business provides materials to builders across the country (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
The business provides materials to builders across the country (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

The boss of Travis Perkins hopes to cash in on a dash for insulation as Britons seek to plug gaps in their homes ahead of next winter’s painful heating bills.

The business also warned on Friday that inflation could be higher than expected in the second half of this year.

Nick Roberts, who has led the builders’ merchant since 2019, said that it had started the year well, and was expecting a boost from increased demand.

“The group has had an encouraging first quarter and, although the wider economic backdrop remains uncertain, we are well placed to build on this positive start in the coming months,” he said.

“The energy efficiency of the UK’s built environment remains a key focal point for households and politicians alike and the current cost of energy is likely to prompt further demand for improvement in both new and existing buildings.”

Energy bills were hiked by 54% for the average household on the energy price cap at the start of April.

Most households will be reducing their use of gas over the coming months as increasing outside temperatures means they can turn the heating off.

So the full impact of the price rises, and a likely further increase from October, will not be felt by most until the winter, when radiators are turned back on.

Many homes will therefore likely try to improve their insulation in the coming months to reduce their heating bills next winter.

“Allied to the significant pipeline of investment in the UK’s social and economic infrastructure, we remain confident in the structural drivers of demand in our end markets,” Mr Roberts said.

“As the UK’s largest building materials supplier and a leading partner to the construction industry, we are uniquely placed to support the country in this drive and are working closely with all key stakeholders, including Government, housebuilders, tradespeople and developers, to address these challenges.”

The company already expected prices for materials to rise this year, but thought this would ease in the second half of the year.

But on Friday it warned that this is “now more uncertain with pricing likely to form a higher proportion of sales growth across the year than previously thought”.

Sales rose 13.6% in the three months to the end of March, the business told shareholders on Friday.

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