Timber group James Donaldson flags post-Brexit slowdown

Scottish timber group James Donaldson & Sons has flagged early signs of a slowdown in the housing market since the Brexit vote.

Managing director Scott Cairns said the firm was in a 'position of strength'. Picture: Contributed

The Fife-based group’s update came as it reported pre-tax profits rose by almost a third in its last finanacial year to £5.9 million as it benefited from strong demand for new homes and a buoyant repair, maintenance and improvement market.

Competitive pressures and the strength of sterling’s impact on prices contributed to turnover dipping by £6m to £127m but group managing director Scott Cairns said market share across its business areas had remained strong.

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“Improved operational efficiency, aided by record levels of capital investment and strong cost control assisted in delivering our overall increased profitability,” he said.

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Cairns said that the company would “watch conditions carefully in the coming months as the post-Brexit market adjusts to a new reality”.

“There are challenges ahead, however, we face them from a position of strength,” he added.

The group operates from 25 sites across the UK. Earlier this year its Perth-based timber merchant subsidiary announced plans to expand into three new areas of Scotland. Latest figures show that Scottish house prices edged up only slightly last month as activity in the market showed signs of slowing. The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said a net balance of +8 per cent of surveyors reported house prices rising rather than falling.