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Plumbing supplies group lifts prices 10pc

Chief executive Heath Sharp said trading in March had improved compared with January and February.

He said more price rises were being implemented, with “average price increases across the group expected to be close to 10 per cent for the year as a whole”.

Reliance shares have slumped from $6.40 in early January to below $4 as margins are squeezed by rising input costs. Soaring energy costs in Europe have also been a drag.

The company made a big bet in 2018 on offshore expansion when it spent $1.2 billion acquiring the John Guest business in the United Kingdom.

Mr Sharp said on Friday that supply chain constraints had curtailed growth in the renovations market in the UK, but underlying demand there remained strong.

Sales across the Reliance business were up 14.1 per cent to $US845 million for the nine months ended March 31 which included $US70 million in sales from the newly acquired EZ-FLO business, bought in November. Stripping out that acquisition, sales were up 5 per cent.

Mr. Sharp said a “winter freeze” weather event in Texas and surrounding states added an estimated $US31 million in extra sales. Reliance benefits when there is a fierce cold snap in the US because of the extra work that flows from households needing to repair pipes and other fittings after they freeze.

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